PNG and Fiji rugby league champions to play off for Melanesian honours

first_imgFollowing in the footsteps of the World Club Challenge, long contested by NRL and Super League clubs, the premiers of PNG and Fiji’s national leagues will now play off for a regional title. The match will take place at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby on Saturday 10 October 2015 at 7pm. Six clubs remain in contention to win PNG’s Digicel Cup – Lae Snax Tigers, TNA Simbu Lions, Hela Wigmen, Agmark Rabaul Gurias, Mendi Muruks and Mount Hagen Eagles. The Digicel Cup Grand Final will take place on Saturday 5 September, and the winner will progress to the Melanesian Club Championship. Eight clubs are battling it out to win Fiji’s Vodafone Cup – Fair Trade Makoi Bulldogs, Saru Dragons, Nadera Panthers, Sabeto Roosters, Nabua Broncos, Nadi Eels, Kinoya Sea Eagles and Burenitu Cowboys – and the winner, who will go on to contest the Melanesian Club Championship, will be determined in the Vodafone Cup Grand Final on Saturday 19 September. “This match will be an annual marquee rugby league event in the region that will promote and enhance our respective national competitions, give the local teams something extra to aspire to, and provide an international competition for our elite domestic teams and players to compete in,” said Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) Chairman, Mr Sandis Tsaka. “This competition has the potential to provide another pathway for our elite local players to showcase their skills and talents on the international stage and hopefully attract the attention of international talent scouts. It will not only promote rugby league development in the two countries, but also enhance people-to-people relationships between our rugby league players and officials in both nations. “I would like to thank the Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL), the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF), the PNG Digicel Cup, the Fiji Vodafone Cup, the major sponsors of both competitions (Digicel PNG and Vodafone Fiji) and the PNG Sports Foundation for getting behind the concept and supporting it.” The Chairman of PNG’s Digicel Cup, Mr Sudhir Guru, said: “I thank the PNGRFL for developing and formalising the Melanesian Club Championship concept, which will greatly promote our national Digicel Cup program. This concept will provide a good motivation and incentive for our national franchises to aspire towards a high quality international competition for our players and officials.” Speaking on behalf of Digicel, Head of Marketing Eva Jando acknowledged Tsaka for his insight and direction in promoting rugby league in PNG, as well as regionally. “Rugby League in PNG has grown tremendously in the last few years and is a highly popular sport in the country,” she said. “The Melanesian Club Championship will go a long way towards highlighting our local talent in the Digicel Cup and will create another avenue to showcase young rugby league talent in both PNG and Fiji, producing an atmosphere where each side can learn from each other and help strengthen Melanesian ties between the countries.” Fiji rugby league officials and sponsors said they were delighted with the introduction of the match to the regional calendar. “This is an exciting time in our Melanesian partnership,” said FNRL Chairman, Filimoni Vosarogo. “FNRL has always considered PNGRFL an exponential part of Rugby League’s growth in the Pacific and it is fitting for them to host this first ever challenge. We look forward to the challenge and many more years to come of such competition. “Out of this challenge, we hope to inspire our players to lift their game and aim for NRL and Super League Club Championship status in the future. On behalf of FNRL, we extend our sincere appreciation to the Chairman of PNGRFL, Mr Sandis Tsaka, his fellow board members and management, for putting on this historic event.” Sanjeewa Perera, Chief Marketing Officer of Vodafone Fiji, the major sponsors of Rugby League in the country, said: “Vodafone is pleased to support the concept of the Melanesian Club Championship. This is an excellent idea for the development of Rugby League in the two countries and more exposure for our players at a higher level. “Vodafone has been supporting Rugby League in Fiji for a number of years and we are passionate about taking the sport to the next level. We will support initiatives that give more exposure to our players in regional and international competition and can open up new opportunities for our local players to take up professional playing contracts.” Ticketing details for the Melanesian Club Championship will be released in due course.last_img read more

Serena’s coach says ‘revolting’ that players can’t make a living

first_imgSerena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has called on tennis governing bodies to come together and devise a way of helping lower level professionals struggling financially due to the coronavirus shutdown.The tennis season was halted in early March due to the pandemic, leaving players in the lower tiers who solely depend on tournament winnings without the opportunity to earn a living.In a letter posted on Twitter and addressed to the tennis community, Mouratoglou said the current situation showed how “dysfunctional” the sport was.“Unlike basketball or football players, tennis players aren’t covered by fixed annual salaries. They’re independent contractors,” he said.“They’re paying for their travels. They’re paying fixed salaries to their coaching staffs, while their own salaries depend on the number of matches they win.”While tennis rewards top players handsomely those in the lower echelons often struggle to make ends meet.Mouratoglou, who started working with Williams in 2012 and has guided her to 10 of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles, said the top players deserved everything they earned.“However, I find it revolting that the 100th-best player of one of the most popular sports in the world – followed by an estimated one billion fans – is barely able to make a living out of it,” the Frenchman said.The men’s ATP Tour and the WTA, which runs the women’s circuit, suspended all tournaments until mid-July after countries started locking down their borders to contain the spread of the flu-like virus.A 2018 International Review Panel report commissioned to address betting and integrity issues said that players in the lowest tiers were susceptible to corruption because of the difficulty in making a living.Only 250-350 players, the report said, earned enough to break even.Georgia’s Sofia Shapatava, the world’s 375th ranked women’s singles player, has started a petition seeking assistance from the International Tennis Federation for lower-level professionals.Many others have joined her to voice their concerns about the financial hardships players face during the shutdown.The WTA and the ATP said they were working to boost players’ earnings when the sport resumed and might extend the 2020 season to allow more tournaments to be held.Mouratoglou said it was crucial to keep lower-level players in the game.“We all rely on those governing bodies, who have the power to protect the professional tennis economy and hold social responsibility,” he added.“We can’t leave lower-ranked players behind anymore. This isn’t right. Tennis needs change. Let’s use this free time to start a discussion.”last_img read more

Smokin’ Aces

first_imgChinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Alaska’s pressure defense—a full court press that shows no let-up—will be up against Nash Racela’s newly-instilled “college” philosophy and this could provide for an interesting sidelight more than what the final score would say.“I want them to play with the college spirit again,” Racela told the Inquirer in an earlier interview after the Texters displayed more spunk and gifted him with his first win in two outings as a rookie PBA coach.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad Ali“I want them to go all out the whole game, unlike in the past when I noticed that they (Texters) would wait until the final five minutes before playing their hearts out.”Together with his philosophy, Racela said Jason Castro, the TNT superstar guard, is being asked to play a lot differently from hereon out. PSC chief: It’s all about competence Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Senators to proceed with review of VFA View comments As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PHcenter_img We are young PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Except that they are so strong they can afford to have Jason Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo come off the bench,” Compton said. “Now if a team like TNT can play at such a high level while being so strong, we have our hands full.”In the 7 p.m. game, Rain or Shine tries to deal its former coach a fifth straight defeat when the Elasto Painters slug it out with the NLEX Road Warriors.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine “We want him to play a lot more defense, more than he has ever done in the past,” Racela said. “We (coaching staff) know that we rely a lot on him offensively, but this time, we want him to play hard on both ends.”“We are willing to cut down his minutes so he can give us a hard game both offensively and defensively,” Racela said.The Aces have been undefeated ever since Calvin Abueva returned from sick bay and the good thing about Alaska’s last win, a virtual walkover against Barangay Ginebra, was that coach Alex Compton was able to keep his core fresh.“It was just one of those games where we were able to hit a bunch of shots and play with a lot of energy,” Compton said. “But against TNT, we have to bite, scratch and claw. They’re such a strong team.”Compton is aware that, with Racela’s new system, the Texters are practically the Aces’ mirror image.ADVERTISEMENT Kevin Racal (left), JVee Casio and the rest of the Alaska Aces have been enjoying quite a run the past few games. —Sherwin VardeleonAlaska has been simmering hot in the PBA Philippine Cup, and the Aces are exactly in the form they want to be in going into the meat of their elimination round schedule in the season-opening conference.With three straight wins against formidable enemies, the Aces get another stern test in a TNT KaTropa side that is playing with newfound zest and fans could be in for a treat in the 4:15 p.m. contest at Philsports Arena in Pasig featuring two squads in the tournament that play with gung-ho abandon.ADVERTISEMENT EDITORS’ PICKlast_img read more

Chelsea gets 13th straight win, Liverpool maintains pursuit

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Stoke City’s Ibrahim Afellay, left, and Chelsea’s Willian battle for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge, London, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016. APLIVERPOOL, England—Chelsea fought off a dogged Stoke for a record-equaling 13th successive Premier League win as Liverpool maintained its pursuit of the leaders with a victory over Manchester City.Thanks to Saturday’s 4-2 win, Chelsea will enter the second half of the season holding a six-point advantage over Liverpool in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge of the London club.ADVERTISEMENT Super Bowl a tossup at legal sports books Senators think TWG’s move to axe motorcycle taxi pilot run an act of ‘revenge’ Rodgers again falls short of another Super Bowl stint Juergen Klopp is also satisfied with Liverpool’s progress as he looks to deliver the club’s first title since 1990 by chasing down Chelsea over the next 19 games.“Can you imagine how annoying it is when you have won 13 games in a row and another team is only six points behind,” Klopp said after Liverpool’s 1-0 win over City. “It is unbelievably difficult this league.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnIt was Pep Guardiola with little to celebrate on New Year’s Eve as City slipped 10 points behind leader Chelsea.Chelsea has emulated Arsenal’s 2002 side by reeling off 13 wins in a row in the same season and it’s thanks to Willian’s double. Goals from Gary Cahill and Willian were canceled out by Stoke duo Bruno Martins Indi and Peter Crouch. When Willian put Chelsea in front for a third time in the 65th minute, Stoke could find no way back this time and Diego Costa added a fourth.“When you win a lot there is a great danger to be satisfied, to be relaxed, to think, ‘OK, but we won a lot in the past, now if arrive the draw, if we don’t lose, if we don’t win it’s not important,’” Conte said. “No. My players showed me great will, great will to fight, great will to win, great will to take this great achievement for us. I’m pleased for them and they deserved this. I’m their coach, but they deserved this.”Georginio Wijnaldum’s eighth-minute header secured Liverpool’s fourth successive league win. Wijnaldum will take the plaudits for providing his second goal of the season, but Adam Lallana’s contribution underscored how the midfielder is an essential ingredient in the title bid.It was Lallana’s seventh assist of the season—he has also scored seven—that set up Wijnaldum. The Dutch midfielder climbed above City defender Aleksandar Kolarov to meet Lallana’s well-placed cross from the left flank before planting a header beyond goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.“It was kind of a wild game,” Klopp said. “It was intense. It’s not about having a philosophy, it’s about adapting to the quality of the opponent and in this case we needed to defend from a compact formation.”ADVERTISEMENT Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba scored late goals in the 85th and 86th minutes to rescue a fifth successive win for Jose Mourinho’s United.Grant Leadbitter had given Middlesbrough the lead but United gave the watching former manager Alex Ferguson the perfect 75th birthday gift.“If the fans remember this not just for Sir Alex’s birthday but for the kind of performance we had, I think it’s a great tribute,” Mourinho said.United’s in-house television channel received a shock after the game when nine-time Olympic Usain Bolt called in with his analysis.Leicester moved six points clear of the relegation zone on Saturday after the struggling champions ended a three-game winless streak courtesy of Islam Slimani’s header. Leicester moved up one spot to 15th.Swansea’s miserable form continued in the first game following Bob Bradley’s firing. Benik Afobe and Ryan Fraser scored first-half goals and substitute Josh King completed a comfortable win for Bournemouth in the 88th minute.In the final five minutes of the first half, Shane Long put Southampton ahead and Matt Phillips equalized. But Hal Robson-Kanu struck a second-half winner for West Bromwich Albion before Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 88th for bringing down striker Salomon Rondon.Burnley moved closer to mid-table safety powered by Andre Gray’s hat trick against relegation-threatened Sunderland. 15-year-old Gauff stuns Venus anew in first round Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIEScenter_img Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos ‘Old school work ethic’ pays off for immaculate Federer MOST READ Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Palace: Crisis over ABS-CBN franchise unlikely Motorcycle taxis ‘illegal’ starting next week — LTFRB board member View comments Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town Cubs, Cavs douse droughts, cleanse curses with 2016 titleslast_img read more

PVL: Myla Pablo shines as Motolite nabs 1st win

first_img7 more Russian weightlifters charged with doping offenses ‘Game of Thrones’ spin-off on Targaryens may premiere in 2022 Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Duterte lambasts Catholic Church anew in curse-laden speech before Filipino Baptists Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher after US-China deal LATEST STORIES Myla Pablo and the Motolite Power Builders. SPORTSVISION PHOTOMANILA, Philippines–Myla Pablo finally delivered what was expected of her, making 20 points to give Motolite its first victory, beating new team Chef’s Classics, 25-22, 25-19, 25-19, Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Open Confence at Filoil Flying V Center.The veteran spiker inspired her younger teammate Tots Carlos who chipped in nine markers as the Power Builders recovered from the first-game loss to the defending champion Creamline Cool Smashers.ADVERTISEMENT Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? TECO donates $100,000 to typhoon-stricken Sorsogon With the rise of e-commerce, is it also the end for our beloved CD-R King? MOST READ Steaming fissures on Taal Volcano Island spotted Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:56Boris Johnson ‘humbled’ after majority win, says Parliament ‘must change’00:50Trending Articles02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu01:26Homes destroyed after Taal Volcano eruption02:48ABS-CBN franchise has ‘natural deadline,’ no need for quo warranto — Gatchalian OSG petition a ‘clear sign’ of gov’t bid to block ABS-CBN franchise renewal — solon Maria Nieza Viray topscored for Chef’s Classics with 10 points, but the new team’s collective effort fell short as Motolite out-attacked, 37-27.Iris Tolenada had 15 excellent sets for Motolite which worked harder on floor defense with 56 excellent digs against 48 by Chef’s Classics.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs View commentslast_img read more

Berbice duo arrested with 11kg cannabis

first_imgPolice ranks in B Division (Berbice) have arrested two persons after they were found in possession of several packages of compressed marijuana on Saturday night.According to the Police Force’s Public Relations Officer, Jairam Ramlakhan, the ranks were acting on information received when they went to a fenced yard at Number 51 Village, Corentyne, Berbice.The compressed marijuana that was foundWhile there, they conducted a search during which they unearthed a quantity of dried cannabis. The narcotic was confiscated and when weighed amounted to 11 kilograms.Two persons who were found on the property were arrested and taken into custody. They are currently being processed for court.last_img read more

Jose Mourinho denies rumoured fallout with Chelsea captain John Terry

first_img1 Jose Mourinho and John Terry Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is adamant his relationship with John Terry is as strong as ever despite the captain’s on-field influence showing signs of waning.The 34-year-old played every minute in the Premier League as Chelsea won the title last term, but is by no means assured of his place against Arsenal on Saturday.Terry was substituted at half-time in the 3-0 loss at Manchester City, was sent off in the win at West Brom and was an unused substitute in the midweek Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.Steven Gerrard, Terry’s successor as England captain, suggested relations were strained between Blues boss and skipper, something Mourinho has denied.But the Portuguese insists he will do what is best for the team and Terry understands that as much as anyone else.“Last season he played every minute but two seasons ago he didn’t and three seasons ago even less. So what’s the problem?” Mourinho said.“He’s a player of my total confidence. I trust him as always and he’s one of my men. Because he’s on the bench one game or because I take him off at half-time, nothing changes.“For John the situation with me hasn’t changed since 2004 (when Mourinho first became Chelsea boss). It is exactly the same.“I play the player I think is the best for that game, for that moment and John has known that since 2004.“I don’t care what you say, media, pundits. I don’t think about the consequences.”Mourinho says it is disrespectful to Terry to suggest a rift with his manager.“I don’t think John deserves somebody to say he has a problem with me,” Mourinho added.“I’m not even speaking about myself, I don’t care about myself.“But I think a top professional like he is and the way he always behaves in this club with me, I don’t think he deserves any kind of doubt about what he is as a professional and as a captain in this club.”last_img read more

WEEKEND STROLL UNCOVERS 5,000 YEAR OLD ROCK ART

first_imgA weekend stroll in the Donegal countryside has unearthed a massive discovery of 5,000 year old ancient rock art.Adam Rory Porter, his wife Angela and their children along with father-in-law Liam MacLochlainn were out walking last weekend taking in the wild north-west weather. They had known about the location of large stones containing rock art but most had been heavily overgrown by gorse and were completely inaccessible.However to their delight the gorse had been cleared by a local farmer leaving the stones exposed.The group got to work scraping away mud and washing stones down for several hours at the location in the field at Magheranaul on the Isle of Doagh in Inishowen.And hour after hour the group were left open-mouthed as they uncovered a treasure throve of rock arts consisting of various signs, swirls and symbols. Adam Porter says they were aware the land supposedly contained such rock art after an initial discovery back in the early 1980s by Dutch archeologist Maarten Van Hoek.But the key was the fact that the gorse had been cleared away by the local farmer, said Adam.“The moment we saw the gorse had been pulled away, we knew we had a chance of finding something.“But we never thought we would find so many. It was literally like finding a lost treasure.“Every time we washed an area we found another piece of art. It really was amazing,” he said.Adam said they had a bottle of water with them and tanks to a local stream they were able to refill the bottle and constantly wash the mud away from the stones. “We must have filled that bottle one hundred times but it was worth it.“Our daughter Faolain, 6, was with us and she was amazed. It’s something she will hopefully remember for the rest of her life,” said Adam.However people have been warned not to interfere with sites of possible archeological interest.A spokesman for the Donegal County Museum said sites must be treated with care. They also stressed that permission must be sought if work is to be carried out on such lands.A spokesman for the National Monuments Service said no permission was sought to carry out works on the Mageranaul site.“No works should be carried out on protected sites other than in consultation with The National Monuments Service. When the owner or occupier of a property, or any other person proposes to carry out, or to cause, or to permit the carrying out of any work at or in relation to a Recorded Monument or a Registered Monument they are required to give notice in writing to the Minister 2 months before commencing that work under Notification to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under section 12 (3) of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994 (Recorded Monument) and Notification under section 5 (8) of the 1987 Act (Register of Historic Monuments).This is to allow the National Monuments Service time consider the proposed works and how best to proceed to further the protection of the monument. However we have no record of any notification of Intention to carry out work on this site at Maghernaul. All work should cease pending investigation by the National Monuments Service.”WEEKEND STROLL UNCOVERS 5,000 YEAR OLD ROCK ART was last modified: May 21st, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Adam PorterdiscoveryInishowenrock artlast_img read more

Huskies hold off Beavers

first_imgBobby Jones made two key baskets down the stretch and sank two free throws with 16.5 seconds to go, finishing with 16 points to lead No. 10 Washington to a 69-65 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night. The Huskies (15-2, 4-2 Pac-10) ended a two-game conference losing streak at home after they had a 32-game home winning streak broken. They won their third straight league game. “They’re good, they’re really good,” he said. “But I don’t know if their ranking is what it’s cracked up to be.” With the Huskies leading 62-60 following a layup by Nick DeWitz with 2:44 remaining, Jones put back an offensive rebound 27 seconds later for a four-point lead. Then, with two minutes to go, Jones scored on a fastbreak layup to put the Huskies in front 66-60. At Virginia 72, No. 24 North Carolina 68 J.R. Reynolds scored 10 of his 16 points in the last 11 minutes and the Cavaliers held off the Tar Heels. The victory was the second in a row for the Cavaliers (9-6, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) following a 54-49 win at Virginia Tech on Sunday. North Carolina (10-4, 2-2) lost its second in a row. The Tar Heels were stunned 81-70 at home by Miami on Saturday, ending a four-game winning streak, and were stymied by Virginia’s interior defense on Tyler Hansbrough and 36 percent shooting. “Their guards just dominated the game,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. Virginia was 23 of 29 at the free-throw line to just 10 for 14 for North Carolina. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded cardBut it wasn’t easy on a night when they didn’t shoot well (24 for 72) and Roy struggled with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting. Even when the Huskies were 0 for 11, though, Roy said the Huskies weren’t worried. “It was real scary because we were missing layups, too,” he said. “But it was nothing we got nervous about.” Maybe the Huskies weren’t nervous, but they also weren’t efficient offensively. And the Beavers were in the game until the finish. Sophomore forward Marcel Jones, who led Oregon State (9-8, 2-4) with 14 points, said he didn’t think the Huskies are the No. 10 team in the nation. center_img SEATTLE – Washington missed its first 11 shots and finished a season-worst 33 percent from the field. And still they won. “We don’t mind scoring in the 60s as long as we win,” Huskies preseason All-America Brandon Roy said. “Eventually, we’ll start shooting better.” last_img read more

Finn Russell: ‘playing in Paris can make me better’

first_imgFinn Russell does not think moving to France has changed him – but he does believe taking himself out of his comfort zone is improving him as a player.Scotland’s stand-off star moved to Paris club Racing 92 in the summer in a big-money deal to play for the Top 14 side.After quickly finding his feet in a new country and a new dressing room, the former Glasgow Warrior said the move has been everything he hoped for.Russell said: “Going to Racing was great for me as a player because I had to establish myself as the ten, the decision-maker who controls the game. “I’ve had to do that a few times before and every time it has made me a better player.“I don’t think there are things that are new [to my game] – I can still do everything that I could do before.“I think just trying to establish myself – fit in to a new team, adapt to slightly different game plan in a different style of rugby – has been good for me.”Russell played for Glasgow for six years, making 81 appearances and helping the club to a maiden Pro 12 title, in 2015. The 26-year-old, who will look to orchestrate a victory over South Africa in Saturday’s autumn test match at Murrayfield, said the biggest factor in agreeing to join Racing 92 was to break out of his comfort zone at Scotland.He said: “I’m loving it over in France. It’s very different, but that’s one of the main reasons I went over there, was to get those experiences.“As a person and as a player it’s been great for me and I am loving it.“The culture [at Racing 92] is kind of similar to Glasgow, all the boys are really close and it is like a family.“A lot of the boys speak good English as well. I am trying to learn French but even just being able to chat in English helps a lot.“It’s been easy to settle in and kind of just worry about the rugby rather than settling in.Russell: Hoping for a victory over South Africa on Saturday. SNS Group“One of the differences is that I’m there by myself. But it’s only an hour and 20 minute flight home.“My mum has been over a lot, my girlfriend Emma has been over a lot, so it has been fine.“[The move] was a little bit of a concern. At Glasgow I was so comfortable – with life and everything that went with it. It just became almost repetitive.“So to go over to France, I was looking forward to the new challenges on and off the field.“I didn’t know what to expect when I went over, whether I would fit in or what the language barrier would be like.“But it has been easy for me to fit in.”Russell has been keeping in touch with his old Warriors teammates and international colleagues while living in Paris.Ahead of winning his 39th cap for his country, he admitted it was a different experience now joining the group as an exile.Russell said: “I’d been looking forward to seeing the boys, coming back and training and playing with them.“It is different. You’ve got to pack up for three or four weeks to come back.“Some nights rather than staying at the team hotel I’ll go back to my mum and dad’s, or back to my flat [in Glasgow], but you’re always kind of living out of bags.“But I don’t mind it. It keeps it fresh.”last_img read more