Robert Brent Russell (born 5 March 1980) is a South African retired professional rugby union player. He is a "utility back" (capable of playing fullback, fly-half or wing) who plays for Clermont in the French Top 14. Previously, he had played with Saracens in England, and before that the Sharks in the Currie Cup and the Sharks in the Super 14 for many years. He also featured frequently in the Springbok squad before his departure for Europe. He won 23 caps and scored 40 points (8 tries) for his country. Russell is known by the nickname Pocket Rocket.
|Full name||Robert Brent Russell|
|Date of birth||5 March 1980|
|Place of birth||Port Elizabeth, Cape Province, South Africa|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8+1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||83 kg (183 lb; 13 st 1 lb)|
|School||Selborne College |
St Stithians College
|University||University of Cape Town|
|Notable relative(s)||Shelley Jones (sister)|
|Rugby union career|
His sister, Shelley, were also South Africa field hockey internationals.
Russell was born in Port Elizabeth, but was schooled at Selborne College in East London. He was quickly brought up to international rugby level when he was selected for the 2002 Springboks team after making a good impression whilst in the national sevens team. In that year, he scored an especially memorable try in the Tri Nations against the Australian Wallabies in which he wriggled out of a seemingly sure tackle and successfully eluded several Wallabies on his way to the tryline. However, he has not been able to consistently break into the Boks lineup in recent years. He is a relatively small player, but what he lacks in size and strength he makes up in speed, acceleration, agility and creativity. He is considered to be one of the most dangerous backline players in South Africa for this very reason, as he has the ability to score a try "out of nothing".
Russell is a victim of his own versatility, with coaches unsure in which position to place him. Although a favourite with the fans and a player of outstanding talent, he made few starts for the Sharks during the 2005/06 season, forcing him to make a move to Western Province where it was said he would be given plenty of game time and would also see him play at fly-half for the Stormers in the Super 14 rather than the utility role he fulfilled at the Sharks.
Russell signed for Saracens F.C. in time for their campaign in 2007. In 2008 Russell signed for ASM Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14.
- ^ a b "SA Rugby Player Profile – Brent Russell". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- ^ "Rugby15 Exclusive: 15 Minutes with the original "Pocket-Rocket" – Brent Russell". Rugby15.
- ^ "Victor Matfield Try against the Aussies | Rugbydump". www.rugbydump.com. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
- ^ Cook, Jonathan (12 February 2014). "SA women's hockey star Shelley Russell celebrates 200 caps". Witness. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
- ^ @brentrussell (27 May 2014). "Good luck to my sister Shells_bells_ for her Hockey World Cup which kicks off this wknd. Supporting you all the way!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- ^ Western Province news report Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ "Russell makes switch to Clermont". 14 October 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- "SA Rugby Player Profile – Brent Russell". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- ESPN Brent Russell
- Saracens Rugby Website