wriggled out

Brent Russell

Robert Brent Russell (born 5 March 1980 in Port Elizabeth) is a South African rugby union player. He is a "utility back" (capable of playing fullback, fly-half or wing) who plays for the Saracens F.C. after playing for the Natal Sharks in the Currie Cup and the Sharks in the Super 14 for many years. He also features frequently in the Springbok squad.

Russell was quickly brought up to international rugby level when he was selected for the 2002 Springboks team after making a good impression whilst in the national sevens team. In that year, he scored an especially memorable try in the Tri Nations against the Australian Wallabies in which he wriggled out of a seemingly sure tackle and successfully eluded several Wallabies on his way to the tryline. However, he has not been able to consistently break into the Boks lineup in recent years, a decision which many experts openly criticise.

He is a very small player, especially for a rugby player, but for what he lacks in size and strength he makes up in speed, acceleration, agility and creativity. He is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous backline players in South Africa for this very reason as he has the ability to score a try "out of nothing".

Unfortunately Russell is a victim of his own versatility, with coaches unsure in which position to place him. Although a favourite with the fans and a player of outstanding talent, he made few starts for the Sharks during the 2005/06 season, forcing him to make a move to Western Province where it is said he will be given plenty of game time and will also see him play at flyhalf for the Stormers in the Super 14 rather than the utility role he fulfilled at the Sharks.

Russell signed for Saracens F.C. in time for their 2007/2008 Guinness Premiership campaign, however his debut has been delayed, due to Russell breaking his collar bone in pre season training. He is now due to make his first appearance for Saracens in their A League game on 3rd of December, and could feature for Saracens first XV very soon.

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