Gregor Townsend had no hesitation about selecting 21-year-old Cameron Redpath for his Test debut when Scotland take on England at Twickenham in this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener, claiming he has taken a shine to the youngster’s fearlessness no matter what situation he finds himself in.
Although a son of former Scotland skipper Bryan, Cameron had recently played for England at U20s level and was involved in training with Eddie Jones’ senior squad during last year’s Six Nations.
Redpath, though, has come into his own in recent months with Bath and despite knocking back an invitation to join up with Scotland during the Nations Cup in November, he has since declared for the Scots at Test level and will now be thrust into the heart of the latest Calcutta Cup clash for his debut.
That first cap will arrive eight days after his fearlessness was highlighted in adversity last week, stepping off the bench at Ashton Gate after Bath had just conceded their seventh try. Having been at Scotland camp earlier that week, it would have been excusable if Redpath didn’t feel up to getting flung into a crisis.
However, he entered the fray on 53 minutes with the lopsided score standing at 48-3 and his determination helped to ensure Bath didn’t concede any further, a resilience that Townsend will now be hoping to see much more with Scotland this spring.
BREAKING: Cam Redpath gets his debuthttps://t.co/PTcBhtMy83
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 4, 2021
“He is good enough to play,” insisted Townsend after unveiling an XV showing five changes from the defeat to Ireland last time out, Redpath, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, George Turner and Hamish Watson respectively replacing Duncan Taylor, Darcy Graham, Jaco van der Velt, Fraser Brown and Blade Thomson.
“He has played really well for his club this season. I have been really impressed in games away from home or maybe up against it. He has that fearless mindset of wanting to take on the opposition.
“He’s a fierce competitor and he will have a big role to play in defence, but we also see his skills in attack. We think it is the right time for him and he will learn in each Test match he plays. He will learn from those guys inside and outside him and we’re looking forward to seeing how he goes.
“We have got a few fearless guys in our backline anyway. That’s the mindset you want. Whenever you are going away from home you want people that are confident to show their strengths, express themselves and when things aren’t going your way, to have a go at the opposition.
“We have seen that from Cam and he seems really happy with where he is in terms of building relationships with Chris (Harris) outside him and inside him. We have seen his skills all week at training… we believe his skill set and his mindset are great attributes to succeed at the highest stage.”
Redpath’s direct opponent at Twickenham will be Ollie Lawrence, the three-cap player who had previously been picked at outside centre. Lawrence steps in at No12 with Owen Farrell shifting to out-half and George Ford dropping to the bench.
“It was an interesting one,” said Townsend about the England rejig. “They have brought Ollie Lawrence in for a couple of games in autumn but the combination they have used over the last few years has been Ford and Farrell.
“It might mean a change in style with one less kicker there but I’m sure they will get Ollie on the ball a lot. With Manu Tuilagi they certainly had a power-based game plan around first phase and aiming to get quick ball through that, so we have got to make sure we don’t let that happen.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 20, 2021
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