Finn Russell’s move to Bath set to be confirmed this week
BATH have reached an agreement to sign Finn Russell and an announcement confirming the deal is expected in the coming days, according to a report in The Telegraph.
A deal between the 30-year-old and the English Premiership club is said to have been finalized in face-to-face talks with Bath rugby boss Johann van Graan on Friday. Russell’s contract – valued at an estimated £1million for each of his three years – will make him one of the highest-paid players in English top-flight history.
Bath’s interest in Russell was first revealed by the Daily Mail last month, at the time Racing 92 were still in talks to keep him. More recently, however, it has become clear that the Parisian club were ready to let Russell go and end a relationship that began when he signed from Glasgow Warriors in 2018. Russell’s Partner Emma Canning recently gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter named Charlie.
Russell will join Scotland internationals Cameron Redpath, Josh Bayliss and D’Arcy Rae – a former Warriors teammate of his – at the recreation ground. His return to Britain should also make it easier for him to travel to and from training sessions in Scotland.
While he and Gregor Townsend haven’t exactly been of the same mind over the past few seasons, the two men appeared to end last month’s Autumn Nations Series with their relationship in a good place. Townsend left Russell out of the Scotland squad to start the four Test series, implausibly insisting he was just the team’s fourth choice behind Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings and Ross Thompson.
But when Hastings was injured, the head coach put Russell right back in the starting XI for the third match, the loss to the All Blacks. Russell then maintained his place in the following week’s big win against Argentina and goes into the Six Nations as the incumbent in the No 10 shirt.
Traditionally one of the powerhouses of English rugby, Bath were the first British club to win the Champions Cup way back in 1998 when Andy Nicol, Scotland’s scrum-half, was their captain. More recently, however, they have suffered in the lower tiers of the Premiership and are currently just eighth in the 12-team table.
Their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of this year’s Challenge Cup are also on the line after losing their first two pool games – at home to Glasgow earlier this month and then to French club Toulon at the weekend.
Van Graan has been tasked with rebuilding the squad to turn them back into contenders for great honors – and clearly signing Russell will be a big part of that rebuild.