'The main thing for me at Sale is I can't really slag anyone off, I probably wasn't all there myself'
Cameron Redpath has explained how the set-up a Bath is better designed to get the best out of him following the 21-year-old’s move there last February on a three-year deal from boyhood club Sale. A son of former Scotland scrum-half and ex-Sale coach Bryan, the age-grade England international made a Premiership debut under Steve Diamond in March 2019.
Less than a year later, though, the burgeoning midfielder had packed his bags for The Rec and with 14 appearances so far under his belt, Redpath has explained why the Bath environment under Stuart Hooper has the potential for him to go on and become the player he wants to be.
“All the coaches have been really good and helpful,” said Redpath in the lead-up to his selection at inside centre for Friday night’s Premiership clash between Bath and last season’s beaten finalists Wasps. “The one thing I asked for when I moved here was honesty and I feel even though I’m a young player still if I get told something that is not true I might overthink it in my head. If I get told the truth, if I’m not playing well tell me I’m not playing well enough.
“At least then I know I have got stuff to work on. At Sale, I probably wasn’t talking to the coaches well enough so I wasn’t getting the feedback I needed. Then players wise, JJ (Jonathan Joseph) and Josh Matavesi are probably the two main players I get on with because they are in the same position.
“I talk to them all the time about little things that make my performance better. Especially defensively, playing 13 defensively helps me at 12. I found in my first couple of games at Bath I was going on my own, out to in, which is how Sale defend more than Bath and I was caught out. I did it twice against Quins and was caught out. I don’t think I have done it since. It’s helpful because the honesty is there, which is what I needed. If the honesty is there hopefully I will develop more and more.”
“If Bath’s acquisition of Redpath proves to be as successful as Saracens’ buy-out signing of Mako Vunipola, the chances of this sort of move happening more often in the future are only going to increase,” writes @alexshawsporthttps://t.co/KHIWKrgxJ8
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 25, 2020
Semi-finalists last season, Bath have made a slow start this term, their opening weekend defeat to Newcastle emblematic of some of the momentum-killing goings-on that has impacted their results over the winter. Redpath candidly holds his hand up when remembering what happened in November. “So first game of the season with Newcastle I made a couple of errors – I often try things which are maybe not on. An offload, tried to beat someone on the edge twice, got tackled into touch twice which you just don’t do.
“If you do it once you’re not going to do it again and I seemed to do it again. I had words with Hoops (Hooper) and he said, ‘C’mon Cam, that’s stupid’. So little things like that really. Leadership things, if I go quiet you have to stand up and take control if no one else is, little things like that.
“And if I’m not playing well just say. If I’m playing well also say. Just be honest with me really. Those are the two main ones that I would probably say. Newcastle, making those two stupid errors which were obvious, but I didn’t realise at the time in the game because you don’t and being the type of player I want to be if I make an error I just try to get onto the next job and just forget about it straight away but still have an understanding it was a stupid error.”
While Redpath is all ears at Bath, he looks back now and wishes he had been more mature during his time at Sale. “I wasn’t playing well for starters and I never really got told I wasn’t playing well when I knew I wasn’t playing well. I was still quite immature.
“I thought it was going to be like kids rugby or 20s rugby in the Premiership and I didn’t understand it was a different game completely and the main thing for me is I have understood that now. I have watched a lot of rugby over time, especially being with dad and I didn’t listen to him before. I probably should have listened to him earlier and understood 20s rugby is very different to men’s rugby and it took me a long time to realise that.
“The main thing for me at Sale is I can’t really slag anyone off, I probably wasn’t all there myself. I was trying to play too much and I didn’t understand the game as much as I probably should have or I thought I did.
“After lockdown, I was chucked in straight away and actually played against Sale… It was my childhood club and I have a lot of respect for everyone there, but I’m here now at Bath and I’m loving every moment. I’m enjoying playing for them. I really, really am enjoying the place. I just want to push on with Bath now and hopefully get top four this season.
“For my position as a 12, core skills is massive, especially as a ball-playing 12,” continued Redpath when asked where in particular he needs to improve his game at Bath. “If my core skills aren’t there then I’m never going to make it in the international world. That is something that is going to have to constantly be there.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 7, 2021
“I think physicality. I have never really been a physical guy but I am going to have to develop my game to be a physical guy as well as my jackeling. I like jackeling so I’m going to have to start thinking more if I’m going to make a big shot or if I’m going to jackel instead of going for a bit of both in a sense. For me, the main thing is my understanding of when to hit hard, when to chop and when to jackel.”
While Redpath sounds ultra-critical in the assessment of himself, boss Hooper has been impressed with the midfielder’s progress over the past eleven months. “He was one of the players I have watched for a long time from afar. He was involved at Sale and when it became clear he had an option to move, I met with him and one of the first things that struck me was his understanding of the game and his ability to vocalise that. It’s not an easy thing to do.
“He can communicate a good game of rugby which is really important. In the moment he does it as well so he has the ability to talk his way through a game, small talk, which is vital. And he has got a pretty broad range of skills. If you look at the Leicester game at the weekend all of his carries he got over the advantage line. He is deceptively strong and he is also a very accomplished rugby player.
“At Worcester, we lost two 10s and put him to 10. He stepped up and kicked for touch, put people in the right places. He is an important part of the squad, he’s developing as a leader. He is 20 and we have him as part of our senior group, our leadership group. He is in there because he is developing as a leader. He can lead our players around the pitch and he is hungry to do that. He gives us a rugby brain, gives is a genuine kick/run pass option at 12.”
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