Finn Russell to Japan: Scotland stand-off 'could add longevity to career' with move

Finn Russell would benefit from a move to Japan if or when he decides to leave French rugby, according to Australia great George Gregan.

Racing 92's Finn Russell has been linked with a move to Japan. (Photo by XAVIER LEOTY/AFP via Getty Images)
Racing 92's Finn Russell has been linked with a move to Japan. (Photo by XAVIER LEOTY/AFP via Getty Images)

Russell’s contract at Racing 92 expires at the end of the season and the stand-off has been linked with a move to the Japanese league. Racing will change their coaching team in the summer, with former England boss Stuart Lancaster arriving from Leinster as director of rugby. Lancaster is reported to be looking at new fly-halves, adding to the uncertainty around Russell who was last week dropped from the Scotland squad.

Gregan, Australia’s most capped player, played with Suntory Sungoliath, helping the Tokyo-based club win the All-Japan Championship in 2010-11. He believes the style of rugby and lighter schedule can help prolong players’ careers. “Having had that experience at the end of my career, I believe you can get longevity and actually improve and get experience into your game,” said Gregan. “Fourie du Preez [the former South Africa scrum-half] was the same. He wouldn’t have played in his last World Cup in 2015 if he hadn’t gone to Japan.

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“Finn would play very well over there. He’d be suited to it and I think he’d really enjoy it. I think he would be in the best physical condition he’s ever been in and I think that’s what’s great about Japan rugby. When I was playing I thought, ‘that’s a nice place to finish your career’ but you go over there and that’s not the case. You don’t go over there to finish, you go to embrace a different style of rugby which is high octane, highly skilled and technically very proficient.”

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