AFTER a challenging year and a half battling against a series of injury set-backs, Cam Redpath believes his luck has changed, and he has set his sights on making the Scotland No 12 jersey his own.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a dream start to his international career when he was as a star performer in the team which beat England at Twickenham for the first time since 1983 in February 2021, but a bulging disc in his neck, a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament and shoulder surgery meant he managed only one more cap after that, as a late replacement against Wales during the 2022 Six Nations, before the start of the recent Autumn Test series.
Then, having missed Scotland’s campaign opener against Australia game because English clubs don’t release Scottish players for matches outside World Rugby’s designated international windows, he was named in the starting fifteen against Fiji but struggled to make an impact in a n underwhelming Scottish performance and ended up being dropped from the match-day squad to face New Zealand, before being named on the bench for Argentina at the weekend, and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands after replacing Chris Harris on the hour mark, scoring the team’s sixth try in a 52-29 victory.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries and not just the little ones of three or four weeks, but six months, eight months and four and a half months, all on the bounce,” he reflected. “I picked up an injury when I made my debut for Scotland, came back and played four games, played my second game for Scotland and got injured again
“Nothing seemed to go positively after playing one game for Scotland, but I’ve broken that curse now … after one game in a tournament, I finally managed two. I’m just happy to get a run of games.
“It has been a really tough 18-months so it is a big relief to get over and do what I’ve wanted to do for so many years – to score on an international stage.
“You can underestimate how tough it is,” he added. “When I was going through it, I probably wasn’t really understanding myself, I just kind of got on with it.
“To come and have an experience like the last couple of weeks, play at Murrayfield for the first time and see my grandparents who have lived here in Edinburgh all their lives, is really special and it makes it all worth it. Now I want to play every game I can.
“There is a lot of competition in the Scottish midfield at the moment, with Sione Tuipulotu, Chris Harris and Mark Bennett all playing well. So, the coach has to make the decision and I’ve just got to understand that. So, it was obviously gutting not to be involved [against New Zealand], but as an exile I’m lucky enough that I can go back to my club and hopefully play. We got that big win for Bath against Leicester that weekend which was huge for the club
“It is what it is and at least I managed to get some more game time under my belt, which is what I really need at the moment after so long out.
Scotland’s next match is their Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham on 4th February.
“I’ve hopefully got a lot of games to play at club level before that when I’ll have a chance put myself in a good place for that game,” said Redpath. “It is definitely one I would love to play in. Obviously, my debut was at Twickenham and it would be great get the chance to try to recreate what we did that day.”
It took his father, Bryan Redpath, 44 Tests to score his first and only international try, but Redpath junior doesn’t feel that getting over the line after just four games gives him any bragging rights.
“Not really because he’s got 60 caps and I’ve got four – and he probably did a lot more assists than me,” he reasoned. “I’ve got the looks and the height over him, so I’ll take that!
“My mum and dad have been brilliant. The whole family have supported me through every decision I have ever made and every injury I’ve ever been through and every tough time. They are there for the good times and there for the bad times.
“For me, my family and friends are the reason why I have pushed all these times and why I want to play out here and put a show on.
“My dad has never been one to compliment me, but he has for the last couple of months. He knows what I’ve been through, and it shows how special it was for him and my mum to see me out there. They are very proud which is nice.”