A powerfully built, running fullback, Russell Bennett was one of the many talented fullbacks selected for South Africa at about the time André Joubert was winding down his successful career after World Cup glory in 1995.
From the Adelaide district of the Eastern Cape, he is the son of centre Julien Bennett, who represented Natal, Norther-East Cape and the Gazelles in 1966 in Argentina.
Bennett, who first represented Border, toured Argentina, Wales and France in 1996 as Joubert’s deputy without appearing in a test.
He had big shoes to fill and did well during 1997 when he came on as a reserve as a wing against Tonga and again as a reserve wing in the first test against the Lions after Edrich Lubbe was injured, scoring a try.
He was the 15th Border player to be capped by South Africa, the first since his name-sake Bennett “Peewee” Howe on the 1956 tour to Australia and New Zealand 40 years before.
Bennett later played for Natal and the Sharks.
– Peter Martin