Brian O’Driscoll’s bold assessment of ‘big differentiator’ Finn Russell

Colin Newboult
Finn Russell in action for Bath in 2024 and Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll.

Finn Russell in action for Bath in 2024 and Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll.

British and Irish Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll was effusive with his praise for star fly-half Finn Russell and believes he is “one of the most talented” players in the sport.

The Scotland pivot was once again outstanding as Bath moved up to second place in the Premiership table following a 42-24 triumph over Sale Sharks.

They are now just two points behind the leaders and are well-positioned both domestically and in Europe.

The addition of Russell, who joined from Racing 92 after the Rugby World Cup, has been a key reason for their upturn in form in 2023/24.

The missing ingredient

Bath already had an incredibly talented squad but the Scottish playmaker has been the one to knit it together and make them genuine challengers this season.

“There are so many components to his game,” O’Driscoll told TNT Sports.

“The kick to regather, his passing, his capacity to put players into holes. This guy, for me, is arguably one of the most talented in world rugby. His capacity to pick the correct option right at the line time and time again is a big differentiator.

“He has bucket-loads of confidence, he’ll try anything and that’s why you have to be on high alert as a team mate, anything could go at any one time.

“[He is] challenging to read off sometimes because he breaks from the script, but so exciting from a viewership point of view, and I always look forward to covering games which Finn Russell is involved in because he’s the person you would buy your ticket to come and watch.”

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Relaxed approach

Former Bath prop David Flatman also praised Russell and particularly his approach to the sport.

Every player makes errors but Flatman is impressed by how the 31-year-old handles those mistakes and is still willing to try something that might be perceived as being risky.

“[He is] incredibly relaxed,” he said. “It looks like he feels like he knows exactly what to do at all times.

“A lot of people talk about his attitude and how much he smiles, and he can try something outrageous, try something simple, make a mistake like everyone does and just move on.

“I think that is rarer than you think, even at the very top level. He just doesn’t seem to be affected by things going wrong.

“A wonderful player, and it is no wonder everyone in the Bath team has started looking better since he arrived.”

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