Finn Russell is delighted that the World Cup is being held in France this year as he believed the country’s passion for the sport make it one the best places on earth to host the tournament.
The Scotland star is also hoping his experience of playing for Racing 92 for the last five seasons gives him a valuable insight into what will be in store as they prepare to play defending champions South Africa in their opening game on September 10.
With the world’s number 1 ranked side, in Ireland, also in their group it will be a daunting task when the tournament begins, but Russell says he is excited and ready to go.
He said: “I think France and the following they get for rugby, it’s one of the best places in the world for that, and for the World Cup it will be even more.
“I did the 2015 World Cup and the 2019 World Cup and I think this one will be the best for us as players, with the atmosphere that will be there and the hype around it.
“And for myself I will try and perform as best as I can, I know the French players and I know what the French crowds are like, I know what the environment building up to big games in France can be like.
“So hopefully I’ll be able to chat to the boys and tell what it’s going to be like. I won’t be like in Japan or London it will be very different to that every game.
“The opening game against South Africa in Marseille will be a massive game, I’ve heard that stadium is amazing so I’m looking forward to it.
“The World Cup is the biggest stage and it’s in a country that loves rugby, so it will be great fun.”
The fly-half also revealed he has been encouraged by his blossoming on-field relationship with Blair Kinghorn following the surprise retirement of 100-cap full-back Stuart Hogg.
Hogg announced his immediate retirement three weeks ago after deciding his body could not handle his initial plan to keep going until after the World Cup.
Russell and Hogg had a close understanding honed by many years playing together for Glasgow Warriors and their country but the new Bath signing feels there is potential in a partnership with Edinburgh’s Kinghorn, who had recently been one of his rivals for the number 10 jersey.
“It’s obviously slightly different,” said Russell on adapting without his former captain. “What Hoggy brought, he has so much experience at the top level so I was able to bounce questions off him and interact really well. We got on really well.
“It’s obviously different having Blair or Ollie Smith there, whoever is playing for us.
“But in training, if it’s been me and Blair in the same team, as we all know Blair can play 10 really well, so we have interacted really easily and chopped and changed who is at 10 all the time. Sometimes if he is in the wide ruck he might jump into 10 in the next phase which allows me to be a little bit wider.
“The way Blair has been training at full-back has been really good. He is hitting the ball really well, he is a big guy, he is really quick. He has different attributes to Hoggy.
“The way we have linked has been really good which is great to see because it is a new relationship between me and Blair at 10 or 15. Hoggy has been there for the last 10 years.”