Russell, who played at flyhalf, wing and fullback for the Springboks last season, joined the Sharks this season, giving Putt some more options in his already talented back division.
With Russell at flyhalf, Putt has selected Butch James at inside centre, where he will partner former Springbok star André Snyman, leaving fit-again midfielder Trevor Halstead and last year's first-choice No.12 Rudi Keil on an enlarged bench. Evergreen utility back Deon Kayser will start at right-wing, with Stefan Terblanché on the left-wing.
Russell will be partnered at halfback by Cheetahs and SA Sevens scrumhalf Neil Powell, who was drafted from the Cats region this year.
Powell gets a start in the absence of Craig Davidson, who underwent knee reconstruction last year, while Ryan Walker – last year's first-choice at Currie Cup level – will start from the bench.
AJ Venter will captain the side from the second row, with exciting loose forward talent Luke Watson getting his first start in a Sharks jersey since joining the Durban-based outfit this year.
Flank Roland Bernard, who will battle it out with Watson for the Sharks' openside spot this year, and hooker Gary Botha, both key members of the SA Under-21 winning side from last year, are expected to get some game time from the bench.
* Meanwhile, sharksrugby.co.za reports that wing Wylie Human, who was drafted from the Bulls' region this year, has flown home from the United Kingdom, after his father, who has a long-term illness, took a turn for the worst.
Human, 23, will fly out on Monday evening after the Sharks management had no hesitation in granting him leave. Human was originally included on the Sharks' bench for their match-up with Quins.
The Sharks team: 15 Ricardo Loubscher, 14 Deon Kayser, 13 André Snyman, 12 Butch James, 11 Stefan Terblanché, 10 Brent Russell, 9 Neil Powell, 8 Shaun Sowerby, 7 Luke Watson, 6 Charl van Rensburg, 5 Albert van den Berg, 4 AJ Venter (captain), 3 Deon Carstens, 2 Lukas van Biljon, 1 Eduard Coetzee.Replacements – from: Brendon Botha, Gary Botha, Philip Smit, Wayne van Heerden, Brad MacLeod-Henderson, Roland Bernard, Ryan Walker, Trevor Halstead, Rudi Keil, Herkie Kruger, Justin Swart.
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT