Our cover featuring the Scotland fly-half headlined "Genius or Liability?" features in the new rugby documentary
The Rugby World Finn Russell cover from our May 2022 issue features in the opening episode of the new Netflix Six Nations documentary Full Contact.
The first episode, entitled Let Battle Commence, largely centres around last year’s Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham with Scotland fly-half Russell having a starring role. And as the documentary explains to the viewer about Russell’s creative spark and the downside of taking attacking risks, up pops our cover entitled: “Genius or Liability?”
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Episode one also provides some good insight into the dynamic between Russell and Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend and starts off in typically cheeky style for the Bath No 10 as he jokingly compares himself to football icon Lionel Messi.
The documentary shines the light on Russell’s head-to-head clash with Marcus Smith, who candidly reveals his lucky Budgy Smugglers are emblazoned with the English and Filipino flags to help him remember who he is representing, having been born in the Philippines.
There is a more serious tone to things when we are transported to Russell’s Parisian home, his base during his spell with Racing 92, where his partner and Scottish heptathlete Emma Canning talks about her fears when it comes to him playing – “not the face”.
Russell jokes that it’s not like he’s going off to war, saying it’s just a rugby game, but Canning insists it can feel like he is heading for battle, especially when she reveals that she’s overheard English fans suggesting that he should be targeted.
When the match action begins at Twickenham for England v Scotland, you get to see Russell in the thick of the action. He takes two big hits from then England captain Owen Farrell and talks the viewer through the verbals exchanged on the field.
While Russell is undoubtedly instrumental in the 2023 Calcutta Cup triumph, episode one takes us all the way through to Scotland’s second game at home to Wales. That out-the-back offload for Kyle Steyn’s try is shown in beautiful slow-motion as Russell collects the Player of the Match award.
Significantly, the win is Scotland’s largest over Wales and the first time they have won consecutive games in the Six Nations. Townsend’s praise for Russell’s defensive work in the changing room leads to some hilarious behind-the-scenes action as the shirtless No 10 ironically tenses his muscles.