IT might seem like a busman’s holiday, but Cam Redpath is delighted that he is spending his day off from Scotland’s World Cup training camp back at Murrayfield Stadium.
The 23-year-old centre is a big Manchester United fan and he’s looking forward to seeing the Red Devils in action against Lyon in a pre-season friendly at the home of Scottish rugby tomorrow [Wednesday] afternoon.
“We’ve got the day off so I will definitely be there,” said Redpath – who had a spell attached to the West Bromwich Albion academy during his early teens. “As soon as that got announced, I texted Edgey [Scotland team manager David Edge] and said: ‘If I’m in this squad, please get me tickets!’
“I’ve never seen them in Scotland before. I’ve watched them at Old Trafford a lot. It should be great. It’s pre-season so it will be mixed teams, but I’m very excited. Hamish [Watson] is a big Man United fan so he’s coming too – there are about 10 of us going in total.”
Redpath’s own footballing career was short and sweet. “Back in the day I was alright,” he shrugs. “I was in the West Brom academy for a while, but then I got a bit older and clumsier and liked the contact too much so had to quit it for rugby.
“I was a centre-midfielder when I was with West Brom, then I took it up again briefly when my family moved to Manchester a few years later and I joined the club just down the road from our house.
“I played in the B team in my first year and was banging goals in left, right and centre, which I loved. That brought the passion back.
“I still love it and any chance I get now I do love to play, but I never would have made it, I was far too slow for that.”
Given that he was called into the senior England squad to tour South Africa whilst still an 18-year-old back in 2018 (although unable to travel due to injury), it is understandable that he decided to go that route. The fact that his father, Bryan, was capped 60 times by Scotland between 1993 and 2003, then went on to a distinguished coaching career with Gloucester then Sale Sharks may also have been a factor.
“I was actually there in 2003 as a three-year-old with my brother, sister, mum and grandparents [when Redpath senior got his last caps in Australia],” the Bath midfielder recalls, when asked about his World Cup memories. “It was special and looking back on the photos of me in a Scotland shirt, it would mean the world to me now do follow in his footsteps.
“He went to three World Cups and he’s got all his caps on the wall at home, so it would be pretty cool to add mine and do the same one day.”
Redpath believes that last season was the best possible preparation he could have had for the challenge of earning a place in the squad, competing in arguably the most competitive area of the park with the Huwipulotu [Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu] partnership which performed so well during the last Six Nations, 2021 Lions Test player Chris Harris and the uncapped but in-form Stafford McDowall also in the midfield mix.
“I had a really good run of games this season – it was actually the most I’ve ever played in a season with 21,” said Redpath, whose game time since his Scotland debut in that famous victory over England in 2021 has been severely limited by two serious injuries to his neck then knee.
“At the back end of the season I took a little whack to my neck, which wasn’t actually a big issue – I could have come back and played a lot sooner. But Bath were just a bit cautious, they knew I had a camp coming up with the World Cup stuff.
“Also, we have other centres at Bath who were playing well like Max Ojomoh, but was more just looking after me as a person and understand that I’ve played the most games that I’ve ever played in a season.
“I think something that this season has probably been the best for me is that momentum that I’ve had from going game to game. I also did my first pre-season ever at the start of last season.
“So I’ve had a really good run of it. I started to pick up some form in parts of the season as well, which was nice. For me, it was all about getting back on the pitch and playing as much rugby as I can.
“At the start of the year I said to myself just get as much as I can. So to do that and start finding some form in big games and feel like a valuable player at Bath again was nice. It’s definitely something that I take confidence from. It’s never nice coming into camp and being injured after one game two years consecutively, so it was good to get a run of it.”