Stuart Hogg's to thank for my Scotland career, says rising rugby star Cameron Redpath
Rising Scotland rugby star Cameron Redpath says it’s down to national team captain Stuart Hogg that he’s now turning out at international level in dark blue rather than white.
The French-born 21-year-old had represented England up to under-20 level and even got a senior squad call-up in 2018 but because he wasn’t capped that time round, he was still eligible to represent Scotland due to his family connections, his dad being former Scotland captain Bryan Redpath, or even France.
It was more down to the current holder of that role that he opted to commit his international future to Scotland, however, he says.
“Stuart's been in touch with me over the last few months," said Redpath after making his Scotland debut for last weekend’s historic 11-6 Six Nations victory against England at Twickenham.
“He presented me with my cap. He's been a massive influence in Scottish rugby, so it means a lot.
“I didn't want to rush into any decision. I wanted to earn my place in test rugby, but Stuart had been in touch quite a bit, telling me he feels I could play a massive part for us.
“He had a massive sway on my decision, which was a big thing.
“The way we play is exciting for us and exciting for the fans, so that was a massive appeal for me, and it's really great that it came across at the right time.”
Saturday’s win was only Scotland's fifth-ever at the London stadium and their first since 1983.
It was also only the third time the Scots had handed a starting place to a hitherto-uncapped player, Redpath’s predecessors being Tom Smith in 1997 and Sean Maitland in 2013.
Among the England player beaten by Redpath and his new compatriots was his former England Under-20s team-mate Ollie Lawrence.
“Ollie's a good mate of mine. We're good friends. He didn't talk too much during the game as we've got to be a little bit more professional at that level,” said Bath centre Redpath.
“We spoke quickly afterwards. He's a good mate of mine and hopefully he goes well in the rest of the tournament.
“It couldn't have been a better first cap for me. Everyone's buzzing and it's unreal to be part of it.
“My family are all buzzing too. I've never seen my dad so happy.
“We had a quick Facetime call after the match and it was great to share it with them.”
Rugby matches still being played behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions, his Galashiels-born dad had to content himself with watching his laddie on television but still managed to make the most of the occasion by downing almost all of a bottle of whisky he’d been given to mark the 50th of his 60 international appearances back in 2003.
“It was a sore head on Sunday morning, there is no doubt about that,” the 49-year-old told BBC Radio Scotland’s rugby podcast.
“I remembered I got a bottle of whisky for my 50th cap 17 years ago and I had never opened it, and obviously on Saturday with how the game went and how Cam played, I ended up opening it, which wasn't a good idea on Sunday morning.
“I've not got much left at all.
“I kind of got a little bit overexcited, but I was just delighted for him and obviously for all of the Scottish players.
“I was nervous in the morning. I spoke to Cam about lunchtime and he was really relaxed, but when you're watching your child play, it is a totally different mindset.
“I thought they played a very smart and controlled game compared to what they've had in the past down there, like when two years ago it was 38-38, but this time they looked in control of the game and kicked very well."
Redpath was among 8.7 million viewers watching the game on ITV, the highest figure for a Calcutta Cup match in a decade.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend was also impressed by Redpath’s debut, tipping him to play a big role for the team for years to come.
“That was an incredible debut, to come into a squad you've not trained with before, meet players for the first time and integrate to our way of playing," said the former Gala star, a Scotland team-mate of his dad’s.
“We saw his skill-set, his confidence, his maturity.
“You don't expect someone on their debut to have such an accomplished start, especially against England of all teams and in a place where we've not won for so long.
“He got on the ball a lot in the early stages of the game and then he did very well when he was on the ball.
“He put in a lot of really good carries, smart passes and was very impressive all around, so it's really exciting to see what he can achieve in his career with us over the next few years now."
The 47-year-old will have to do without Redpath against Wales tomorrow, February 13, however, as he picked up a neck injury during Saturday’s game, but he’s hoping he will be available again for at least part of the remainder of the Scots’ Six Nations campaign.
Tomorrow’s game kicks off at 4.45pm at Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield Stadium.
It’s being broadcast live on BBC One and also S4C.
Scotland and Wales are currently level on four points in this year’s Six Nations table, though the Welsh are in second place, behind France, due to their superior points tally, having beaten Ireland 21-16 on Sunday.