Glasgow Warriors fans got the news they were dreading with the club confirming that Scotland stand-off Finn Russell will be leaving at the end of the season.
The 25-year-old from Stirling has “been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity” according to statement from the Warriors released last night. The statement does not reveal his destination, but it’s believed to be the big-spending Paris club, Racing 92.
Russell said he had experienced “fantastic moments” at Glasgow but wanted to try and different culture.
“I’ve made friends for life and to played in front of the amazing Glasgow Warriors supporters at Scotstoun, and it has been a dream come true,” he said.
“I’ve always wanted to experience as much as I can during what is a short rugby career. It was obviously a difficult decision to leave Glasgow, but I have the opportunity to take myself out of my comfort zone and experience a new culture and type of rugby.
“However, I am fully focussed on the Warriors and will do everything I can to make my final season at Scotstoun a successful one.”
Russell is one of two key Glasgow men out of contract at the end of the season and the other, lock Jonny Gray, is also understood to have been actively courted by English and French teams.
It leaves the Warriors with difficult decisions to make with their limited budget. Securing Stuart Hogg on an extended contract last year meant that it was unlikely the club would be able to offer both Russell and Gray competitive terms.
Glasgow Warriors managing director Nathan Bombrys said: “Our club has an excellent track record of retaining our key players in recent years. However, in this instance Finn has decided to move on and accept a lucrative opportunity at another club.
“We respect his decision and when the time comes we will thank him for his contribution to the club. It has been great watching him develop and grow wearing a Glasgow Warriors shirt.
“We know he will be fully focused on trying to bring another trophy to Glasgow Warriors this season.”
Russell has won 31 caps for Scotland, scoring 96 points. He’s played 64 times for Glasgow, having come up through the Stirling County and Falkirk clubs and the Scottish Rugby Academy.
He was also a call-up into the British and Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand last summer.