Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Tuesday Feb 2, 2021

England ready for 'fearless' Russell while Zebo tips the entertainer for Lions squad

England ready for 'fearless' Russell while Zebo tips the entertainer for Lions squad

“We were all having fun, and testing the boundaries.” The scene has been set: Racing 92 have just come off the pitch after beating Toulon away from home, with the club’s new arrivals Simon Zebo and Finn Russell putting in the first of many star performances.

ADVERTISEMENT

For context, the recent episode of RugbyPass’s The Offload podcast focused on which players would be making Zebo’s touring British and Irish Lions squad to South Africa this summer. The (for now) former Ireland international winger picked his mate as much for his on-field prowess and his performances and audacity of the field.

Without digging up the 6 Nations affair from 2020 where Russell controversially – and temporarily – fell out with Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend (an affair which was largely blown out of proportion by the media en masse), Russell is known for enjoying the “third half” after a good match.

The primary focus of the Lions is as you would expect, the playing and securing a series win, but the social side to the tour – albeit steadily diluted by the professionalism of the game since the mid-2000s – still holds a particular importance. Most notably in team bonding, much in the same way the Barbarians are able to gel quickly.

Zebo joined hosts Ryan Wilson and Christine Mahon to discuss why his club team-mate Finn Russell would make a perfect touring member.

Photo: http://sport.gentside.com

“I think it was actually our first competitive game together and we won, and the boys went back to the hotel and it was calm but we had a few beers,” recounted Zebo.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Finn was probably just another level ahead of us!

“The dance moves started coming out a bit early and I thought: ‘alright, this guy’s going to be good craic’ and the president was sitting down and he [Russell] started dancing around the president.

“Then the head coach comes in and Finn goes over to him and, do you remember Laurent Blanc, the centre back for France who used to kiss Fabien Barthez’s bald head when he made a big save?

“Finn got Laurent Travers’s head and gave it a big kiss and a lick!”

ADVERTISEMENT

With professionalism seeping even further into the game these days – there’s no suggestion that these stories don’t happen as regularly as they used to, although communications teams have become more sophisticated – it is refreshing that players can still perform on the field while enjoying their time off it.

Russell has his fair share of supporters and critics for his antics on and off the pitch and it’s not up to us to infer which side is correct, but in the spirit of the Lions – with the entire concept under threat because of professionalism – has been built upon by similar tales of years gone by.

Whether Russell indeed makes the squad or not remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say that the touring party would be less audacious without the mercurial Scottish out-half if he didn’t board the plane in the summer.

England ready for ‘maverick’ Russell in 6 Nations opener

Of course, Russell is known for his relaxed style of play and the unpredictability of the out-half caused all sorts of problems for England – who Russell’s Scotland face in this weekend’s 6 Nations opener – over the past couple of years.

Having missed last year’s encounter with the Auld Enemy, Russell will be keen to exert the sort of pain on England as he did in 2019 and 2018.

But England’s Elliott Daly says his side need to be alert and ready to nullify any threat from the Scottish fly-half.

“The way he plays is very free and fearless. You have to be ready for everything. He might do a few things that come off, but you have to stay in the moment and limit them,” full-back Daly said.

“I’ve played against him a few times now and you have to anticipate some stuff that you wouldn’t anticipate from other players.

“It’s understanding what he sees in the game and trying to work out what he’ll do, although you can’t get it right every time.

“With Saracens, we switched off a little bit and that was the game sorted. If you look back on that match, we could have stopped that if we were a bit more alert.”

Related Articles

  • 20 WEEKS AGO

    France cleared for Six Nations as it's announced...

  • 20 WEEKS AGO

    Monye strikes a chord as he speaks for vast...

  • 20 WEEKS AGO

    JJ Hanrahan lifts Munster with dramatic drop...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Big front rower sprints 70m for MLR intercept try for the ages

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Lovely Finn Russell pass helps Racing 92 reach Top 14 semis

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Eye-opening compilation shows why Taulupe Faletau could harm Springboks this Summer

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    The time Waisale Serevi used his iconic hitch-kick to carve up Scotland in 2000

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Veainu finishes superb try after octopus style offload from Waisea

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Malakai Fekitoa delivers punishing tackle for country of birth at Monaco 7s

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: 20-year-old Lynagh sits Bristol star Semi Radradra on his arse in Prem semi-final

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Troubling scenes as Ntamack carried off following nasty head clash

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    The time James Horwill's face got re-arranged by French fists in 2008

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    This video of crazy punches and red mist moments is racking up millions of views

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Brock James' infamous choke in 2010 Heineken Cup clash

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Best tries and reaction to Quins' EPIC comeback which secured Prem final spot

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Five minutes of outrageous handling skills from rugby legends

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    World's fastest pass up for grabs when Smith and Dupont go head-to-head in unique challenge

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: The best and worst of when forwards have a go at kicking

View All

Funnies

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Joe Marler elated in special interview as fans return to The Stoop

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: One of the luckiest and most bizarre tries you will EVER see

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Reds players caught out in hilarious celebration blooper vs Chiefs

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Faz, Piutau and Burns star in hilarious try fail compilation

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    MLR: Giltinis howler sees try overruled despite attempts to celebrate

View All

Amateur

  • 33 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 70 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 70 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 71 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 71 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 23 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 24 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 30 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 30 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

View All
England ready for 'fearless' Russell while Zebo tips the entertainer for Lions squad | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos