Beaming Scotland boss Gregor Townsend has hailed the polished impact Cameron Redpath enjoyed on his Test level debut, the 21-year-old midfielder playing a pivotal role in Saturday’s shock 11-6 Guinness Six Nations win over England.
Having represented England at U20s level and then trained with Eddie Jones’ Six Nations squad just eleven months ago, the involvement of the Bath centre in the Twickenham ambush was quite an achievement for someone who only trained for the first time with his new international teammates at Oriam on January 25.
His involvement in that Scotland training week was cut-short, Redpath required to head back to England and come off the bench for Bath in their heavy Premiership loss at Bristol. However, he was able to spend the full week with the Scots leading into Saturday’s round one opener and it was more than ample time for him to adjust to the demands of playing at the highest level.
Redpath signed off with a 40-metre gain from his four carries, five tackles and a crucial penalty-winning turnover that helped prevent England from mounting a comeback. Redpath’s effort shone when compared to opposite number Ollie Lawrence, with whom he partnered in the England U20s midfield in 2019.
Lawrence managed just a single carry for a three-metre gain, so dominant were the Scots who enjoyed 63 per cent possession and 59 per cent territory in a contest they fully deserved to win.
"You never atone for a game like this, this stays with you for a long time"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 6, 2021
It was an outcome a world away from the experience of Scottish boss Townsend when he made a 1993 Test debut at Twickenham, losing 26-12 and going on to lose on four further occasions at the London venue. No wonder he was overjoyed that Redpath hit the jackpot first time round in an international career that the coach has already predicted could well last for ten years.
“I thought it was an incredible debut,” said Townsend. “To come into a squad that you have not trained with before, to meet players for the first time and then integrate into our way of playing and getting used to new players – we saw his skillset, his confidence, his maturity.
“We have seen that at Bath and we have seen it in training, but you don’t expect someone on their debut to have such an accomplished start when you are just new to a team, against England of all teams in a place where we have not won for so long, but he was excellent.
“He got on the ball a lot on the first half which helped him and he did well when he got involved, some really good carries, some really good passes and he secured an excellent jackal penalty for us in the second half. He showed his competitiveness, his skill and it’s really exciting what he can achieve in his career, what we can do with him over the next few years.
“I know what I did in ’93, which was not play very well on my debut. It was a much better debut for Cam Redpath then I had back in ’93, that’s for sure.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 4, 2021
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