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Russell bears no grudges after Bay decision

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Sportal.co.nz     31 Jul 2012     Getty Images

Russell told the Evening Chronicle he was surprised by the decision but his reaction was that it was a case of 'one door closing and another one opening'.

"There are no grudges or anything like that. They had their reasons, which they did not want to explain, so I will just leave it with those guys.

"That is there politics, and I still think they are going to have a good year because they have good players," he said.

Russell said that despite how his five-year stint ended, it had been a great experience in helping to lift the side to higher levels.

"We liked to pride ourselves on an aggressive style of rugby and hopefully we can bring certain aspects of that to Newcastle," he said.

The English club was relegated from the Premiership this year as a result of London Welsh being promoted. Former Hurricanes and Blues first five-eighths Jimmy Gopperth has remained with the club despite the relegation.

However, Russell said when he put his name out for coaching positions in the wake of the Hawke's Bay decision, he had talked to a few teams but Newcastle had been the best option.

He was also involved in assisting two Argentinian teams around New Zealand, and was still keeping an eye on those sides.

Russell arrived in Newcastle last week but had been watching video clips of the side's training sessions.

"Even before then I have had regular contact with my fellow coaches via email and Skype and it is good to see some of those ideas coming into play so early in the summer.

"My initial impressions of the club since arriving have been great and one of the most pleasing things has been the fact the guys look to be enjoying it.

"It is a really professional environment, things run to schedule and everything is thought through very well. You want that to continue, and for a buy-in from the players who will ultimately run a lot of it," he said.

Russell said he was familiar with the English rugby set-up and was approaching his task as marrying that with his lessons from New Zealand. "I am not just going to transplant my ideas from hom as a big block into Newcastle."

But he did say: "Over here the defence is very much the dominant trait, whereas in New Zealand is it more focused on attack.

"That is slowly swinging around in England with the likes of Manu Tuilagi coming through, and you are starting to see that every team has to have speed out wide and decision-makers with a lot of thought."