The show will allow viewers to see the stars of the game in a way they’ve never been portrayed before. For Finn Russell, it was a case of allowing the camera crews into his Parisian apartment, where he and his partner were living as new parents.
“My daughter was eight weeks old at that point, so maybe it’s something that in 15 years’ time she’ll be boasting about, having been on Netflix,” jokes Russell. “It was good fun. I’m pretty chilled with it all, so I wasn’t stressed with them filming me or following me and my family – we’re all pretty relaxed.
“The more players allow [the cameras] access, the better show that will make, and that’s what we all want. We want more eyes on rugby to grow the sport, and the more access they can have, the better it will be.”
Watch the trailer for Six Nations: Full Contact.
Viewers of the show will begin to learn how Finn Russell the rugby player is an extension of Finn Russell the man: witty, laidback, fun-loving and highly watchable. “It’s good to see the other side of players, not just what you see in the game,” says the Bath superstar. “It’s going to be good for rugby.”
Italy forward Sebastian Negri, whose storyline in the 2023 Championship – on which the series is focused – details his return from a serious injury, described the filming experience as “awesome”.
“It was good to get know a couple of the Netflix crew,” said the 29-year-old back rower. “It was pretty surreal, to be honest. You’re not used to having that many cameras around and following your every move, but I met many good friends and people that I still chat to today. It’s going to be incredible for the game of rugby.
“When people watch you on TV they immediately get an idea of who they think you are, so the series will give insight into what I’m like off the field, and hopefully they can get to know my character a bit better. You always want to relate to sportsmen and women, and this is a great series to do that.”
For his national teammate Stephen Varney, it was a case of shedding perceptions in a different way. The Gloucester scrum-half, who is originally from rural Wales, qualifies for Italy through a grandparent.
“I had the film crew down in West Wales, where my family are, and seeing the Italian side of my family will be good for Italian fans,” believes Varney. “They might currently see me as a foreigner, but in reality I’ve actually grown up in an Italian culture and family, so hopefully the fans will react well to that.”
England and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith hailed his inclusion in the series as “a massive privilege”, and said he feels lucky to be part of it. “The interviews were quite deep,” reveals the 24-year-old. “There were some intriguing and thought-provoking questions asked of me. As rugby players we don’t get the opportunity to speak that way all the time. I enjoyed the experience and hopefully it comes across well.”
Prop Ellis Genge, of Bristol and England, has a fascinating story to tell in the series - one which couldn’t be further removed from the glamour of the premiere that recently took place in Marble Arch. “The red carpet is new for me, but I can imagine some of the fly-halves have been on a few of them!” he laughed. “I’m excited for the series. I hope this grows the game for years to come and skyrockets it into a new world.”
Could Six Nations: Full Contact even Inspire the next Ellis Genge? “Probably. I hope he’s behaving now, wherever he is!”
Six Nations: Full Contact is available to stream worldwide on Netflix from Wednesday 24th January.