The Gallagher Premiership club did not specify Russell’s length of contract, but it has been reported to be worth around £1million a year. Bath said that he will join them after next year’s World Cup, ending a successful spell with French Top 14 club Racing 92.
It represents a major coup for Bath, with Russell adding further stardust to a squad recently bolstered by the arrivals of Wasps back-row forward Alfie Barbeary, plus England internationals Ollie Lawrence and Ted Hill from Worcester.
Russell’s ball-playing skills and creativity will bring another dimension to a squad making rapid strides under new head of rugby Johann van Graan.
Russell has won 65 caps and made his Lions Test debut against South Africa last year. He was also part of the Lions’ 2017 tour to New Zealand. He joined Paris-based Racing in 2018 and was a driving force behind them reaching the Heineken Champions Cup final two years later, when they lost to Exeter.
“I know players at Bath who speak highly of the environment, and the direction the club is going in is something I want to be a part of,” Russell said. “I have enjoyed my time at Racing 92 and I’ve learnt a lot. Now is the right time for a new challenge in a new league, with the aim of moving Bath back to the top end of the Premiership and competing for domestic and European titles.”
Van Graan added: “Finn is a world-class player who will significantly add to our squad on and off the field. To be able to attract players of Finn’s quality to Bath Rugby is a credit to how far we have come as a club and a group since July. We look forward to welcoming his experience, leadership and expertise.”