sport news Finn Russell opens up on the highs and lows of being a flair player for ...

sport news Finn Russell opens up on the highs and lows of being a flair player for ...
sport news Finn Russell opens up on the highs and lows of being a flair player for ...

The cheeky smile is back on Finn Russell's face as he takes a seat in a meeting room of Racing 92's training ground.

Keeping out of trouble? 'Trying to!' he says with a laugh. 'It's all good'. Having just collared the No 10 from the team dining room, the club's head of media jovially adds that: 'Everything is always good with Finn'.

What's not to love about the Parisian life, after all? Their training ground has its own wine cellar, and there are restaurants on the doorstep that he ticks off one by one. The laid-back Scotsman is adored by local supporters, who cheer their Magicien as he performs acts of sorcery around La Defense Arena.

Laid-back Finn Russell is adored by Racing 92 supporters, who cheer his every act of sorcery

Laid-back Finn Russell is adored by Racing 92 supporters, who cheer his every act of sorcery

However, he has told Sportsmail that the last few months have been challenging for him

However, he has told Sportsmail that the last few months have been challenging for him

On the face of it, things could not be better. However, over the course of his lunch break, Russell openly admits that the last few months have been challenging. The conveyor belt of fixtures barely stopped after the Lions tour and the demands of the modern game weighed heavy.

'This season there have been a few things that have run into each other, which probably caught up with me,' he says. 'On the mental side, I think I've been slightly drained. I probably didn't get as much time off this year — maybe five days — so that's probably had an effect on the way my season's been.'

After Racing's Champions Cup quarter-final against Stade last month, Russell made a bee-line from the stadium to the airport. He spent the week at Dubai's Hotel Fairmont the Palm; the hotel of choice for the likes of Jennifer Lopez. It provided an opportunity to recharge and reflect on a Six Nations campaign that ended with scathing reviews and a rule-breaking trip to an Edinburgh nightclub.

Russell has been caught up on a conveyor belt of fixtures which has left him mentally drained

Russell has been caught up on a conveyor belt of fixtures which has left him mentally drained

Admitting the Six Nations camp was 'tough', Russell travelled abroad to recharge his batteries

Admitting the Six Nations camp was 'tough', Russell travelled abroad to recharge his batteries

'To get some time away from it, to freshen up and not really think about rugby was probably the best thing for it,' he explains. 'Good beaches, good restaurants, good weather.

'I probably found the Six Nations camp quite tough, for various reasons. My form's been a little bit up and down. I've not managed to maintain that form. It could come down to the long season, things on the field, things off the field. The Lions tour is a massive high, the highest thing you can do in rugby, and then you come back to your club and it's slightly different.

'You have maybe three-and-half weeks off then you're quickly back into it. For international players playing abroad, the time off is slightly less. I like playing here in France and I'd rather sacrifice those three weeks off a year to play here. That's up to me. I can't really complain because it's my choice to be here. If I

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