Russell’s crazy pre-match confession shows how unique this Lions tour is
Seeing as playing for the British & Irish Lions is supposed to be the pinnacle of any player’s career, many would expect that a lot of mental preparation is required for each match. Not for Finn Russell.
In episode five of The Ultimate Test, the Scotland fly-half revealed how he found out he was playing for the Lions against the Cell C Sharks last Wednesday, and it is not what would be expected.
“We’d all been tested on Wednesday morning and had to isolate as there was a positive in camp. So no one really knew what was happening, if the game was on or off, and only then to be called at six o’clock and Prav [Prabhat Mathema] asked me if I was fit to play.
“I said ‘yeah, I’m fit to play,’ he said ‘right, ok, you’re on the bench, you’re the only back on the bench.’ I said ‘that’s fine with me, no worries, how long have I got to get ready?’ In which he then replied ‘you’ve got ten minutes to get on the bus.’ I was lying in bed just watching telly, to then get the call at six o’clock to say I had to be on the bus for ten past six, ready to go. So I quickly jumped out of bed, grabbed a shower and that was it.”
Having ten minutes to prepare for a match that you did not originally think you were playing in is not ideal, and then being told that you are covering the entire back line on the bench only makes it worse. Then again, in one of the most unique Lions tours in history, this has to be expected.