'I got on with the lads... but I never felt I played well enough to earn their respect'
Injuries have a habit of rearing their heads at the worst possible time for Cameron Redpath but after his latest setback – a neck injury that saw him miss the majority of the Guinness Six Nations – he is back fit and keen to find his best form.
After starring in Scotland’s first win at Twickenham for 38 years on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, a gutted Redpath was forced to watch from afar having been involved for the championship opener. He made a timely return to help Bath into the Challenge Cup semi-finals with victory over London Irish last weekend and will line up again for Stuart Hooper’s side when they face Leicester in Premiership action on Sunday.
Redpath believes he has come back from his most recent setback as a better player. “It’s part of the game and I feel like I have had a lot of opportunities where I have got injured at the worst possible time, but it’s one of those things,” he said.
“You have got to take it in your stride and every time you get injured, you have got to grow as a player off the field. Every time I have a setback I try to come back stronger. You have got to come back and try to be a better player.”
A change in club environment has helped Redpath, who admits he did not enjoy the latter part of his time at Sale as he was frustrated at being a bit-part player unable to find his best form or spending too much time on the treatment table.
Stuart Hooper's words apparently struck a chord in the build-up to Bath's revenge win over London Irish
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 16, 2021
“When I first got approached (by Scotland) I wasn’t playing well at Sale. When I first spoke to Gregor (Townsend) he was telling me he thought I was someone who could play for Scotland but for me, I hadn’t played well at Sale.
“I don’t think I did play well at Sale at all. I got on with the lads and the coaches at Sale but I never felt I played well enough to earn their respect so coming to Bath, I wanted to earn the respect of the boys before thinking about any international honours.
“I have still got massive respect for Sale. They were the ones who made my professional career start so I can’t sit here and slag them off when I was the one not playing well and I couldn’t stay fit. I needed to get away and get a fresh start.
“I had too many injuries and too many average performances. I needed to get away from home and challenge myself – I was very immature as a player and I was relying on too many things that happened in the past to keep me going.”
The move to Bath, which Redpath admits took him wholly out of his comfort zone, rejuvenated a young man with huge potential, and he marked his return with an all-action display in the Challenge Cup quarter-final win over London Irish, even slotting in at fly-half when Orlando Bailey was concussed early on.
“There are a few things that I need to work on but I have not played for eight weeks, so I was expecting that. It was nice to get out there and get challenged playing at 10 a bit more than I normally would at 12.”
Redpath is now keen to put a run of games together for Bath and help the club get their hands on a trophy, with more international honours a target for the summer. “We want to get a trophy. It’s the aim every year. It’s tough but we have got a chance,” he said as Bath look to win silverware for the first time since the 2007/08 Challenge Cup triumph.
“I don’t know what is going on with summer tours at the moment, but I need to play well enough to get picked for Scotland. I want to play rugby at the top level so I can be fit to go on tour.”
Redpath has been mentioned in some quarters as a potential Lions bolter and passed on his congratulations to Townsend and Steve Tandy for their appointments in Warren Gatland’s coaching staff. “It is massive for Scottish rugby. They have done a great job and they deserve it,” he said before picking out a handful of his teammates with club and country that he feels are worthy of facing the world champion Springboks in July.
“Hoggy [Stuart Hogg] and Finn (Russell), they deserve to go massively. Same with Hamish Watson – you can’t get the Six Nations player of the championship and not go. Duhan (van der Merwe) on the wing was the top try-scorer in the Six Nations. There are loads of boys there who deserve a shot.
“Toby [Faletau] as well – he showed what he can do at the weekend with a chip and chase with his weaker foot. There’s a couple of boys who are in with a shot and that would be great for the club, and for them.
Redpath admitted he was gutted to miss Scotland’s first win in Paris for more than two decades, but revealed he joined in with the celebrations from his sofa. “I wanted to be there but I was jumping up and down when they scored at the end. I was going crazy in the house,” he said.
If the 21-year-old can return to the peak of his powers before the end of the season, there is likely to be a chance of a summer tour, whether that is with Scotland or as a wildcard selection to South Africa. “If I play well, everything opens up and I have done everything I can to control getting selected for a summer tour.”
"Joining Bath helped me move on from being a kid. I’m still 21, but I don’t get treated like a 21-year-old, I get treated as a senior player."@JLyall93 speaks to @BathRugby Cam Redpath who plays against Leicester tomorrow. https://t.co/oqnzQhrRpv
— The XV Rugby (@TheXV) April 17, 2021
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