Bryan Redpath still hopes his son chooses Scotland over England
Like many a Scot who has ended up forging a life and career south of the border, Bryan Redpath is slowly coming to terms with the fact that his children might just be English.
The accents tell the story, the upbringing backs it up but, deep down, the 48-year-old Borderer refuses to accept that tartan blood doesn’t flow in his offspring’s veins.
The father of three is based in Knutsford, Cheshire, following a long and distinguished playing and coaching career which began in his hometown of Melrose and saw him win an impressive total of 60 Scotland caps in the highly competitive scrum-half position. He enjoyed a spell in France, with Narbonne, then played for Sale Sharks, who he ended up coaching along with Gloucester and Yorkshire Carnegie in Leeds.
The main talking point today is his middle child, Cameron, a 20-year-old centre now playing at Bath after moving south from Sale in February who, for the moment, has nailed his colours to the mast of St George.
“He knows my feelings,” says Redpath senior with a chuckle. “I’d want him to play for Scotland. And he’s not tied to anything yet so never say never, as they say. But, in the end, it will be his choice to make, not mine.”
Born in Narbonne and educated at the famed Sedbergh School in Cumbria which counts legendary England captain Will Carling among its illustrious alumni, and King’s School in Macclesfield, Redpath junior, now 20, came through the Sale Sharks academy and played 22 games for the Greater Manchester club before the move to Bath.
He was selected in Eddie Jones’s, inset, 34-man England squad for the 2018 tour of South Africa but was unable to travel because of injury.
“Cameron was involved with Scotland at age-grade level but things ended up going down a different route, for the moment at least,” explained his father. “He got a bad shoulder injury and Sale paid for the surgery to get him back in shape. The way things work down here is that clubs get funding from the RFU for having most of their squad English qualified and Cameron felt some debt and gratitude to them for their help.
“I think the move to Bath is a good one for him, it’s a fresh challenge and I’m sure he’ll seize it once rugby gets back up and running.”
Of course, for the time being there is no rugby due to lockdown, but Redpath senior remains busy despite not being involved with the game in a hands-on role at present after leaving Yorkshire in 2017 and then doing a temporary stint as Scotland Under-20s coach for the 2018 junior world championship in France.
Redpath now works for the firm Elite FX which helps elite professional sports stars manage their assets, which means he has his hands full even if rugby balls aren’t being throwing around in earnest in this neck of the woods just yet.
Of course, down in New Zealand it’s different and Redpath has been following the progress of 24-year-old scrum-half Fin Christie, who spent his early years in Peebles before his family emigrated and is now a key member of the Auckland Blues squad in the domestic Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
“You do get these guys who kind of fly under the Scottish radar and we should be keeping tabs on them,” said Redpath. “Another is Murray Douglas [30-year-old second row/flanker], who was at Edinburgh, but is now doing great for ACT Brumbies in Australia.”
Lockdown has induced some reflective nostalgia in us all and Redpath can look back on a fine international career in the dark blue jersey he would still dearly like to see worn by his son Cameron.
Scrum-half has always been a rich source of talent in these parts and to win 60 caps at a time when Gary Armstrong and Andy Nicol were also vying for the No.9 jersey is no mean feat for a man who honed his craft at the Greenyards under the guidance of the great Jim Telfer and played alongside Grand Slam stand-off Craig Chalmers.
Redpath was actually named Scotland captain ahead of the famous last ever Five Nations Championship in 1999, which Telfer’s side went on to win, but he had his campaign scuppered by a late injury.
“From 1998 into 1999 it was kind of a rolling captaincy I had with Gazza [Armstrong]. Whoever started captained. I think he was always going to get the nod that year,” recalled Redpath.
“In the end I knackered my ankle. I was sent out to play for Edinburgh Reivers as they were then and got injured down in Wales.”
Redpath recovered to feature in the 1999 World Cup and is part of an elite band of Scots to have played in three of those global events. He featured in the 1995 tournament in South Africa and played his final Test in the 2003 quarter-final defeat by hosts Australia in Brisbane.
It may well be that his boy is pulling on the white of England but Redpath remains positive that Scotland can repeat the events of 21 years ago and pick up silverware again.
“The boys were brilliant that year, it’s a shame I couldn’t be a part but yes, why not? Things go in cycles. After 1999 England started to really get their act together, you know France will be strong most years and then Wales and Ireland really pushed on too. But I’m sure our time will come again.”
Elite FX is an exclusive currency consultancy that works with business leaders and star athletes from all sports to best protect their money. For more information visit www.elite-fx.com
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