Cameron Redpath's rapid rise leads to England call-up

In March 2016, Cameron Redpath was in the Scotland under-18 squad that took on England, but now some 25 months later he is getting ready to pack his bags and head off to South Africa with Eddie Jones' senior English party.

Cameron Redpath, son of former Scotland star Bryan, in action for the England under-18 side last season. Picture: Matthew Impey/REX/Shutterstock

The rise of the 18-year-old who does not even finish his education at Sedbergh School until this summer has been quite remarkable.

Indeed, he was still in school yesterday morning in Cumbria when he received the news of his call-up, much to the amazement of his classmates who are preparing for their A levels.

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There has been a tug of war going on for 12 months now between Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend and Jones to persuade the stand-off or centre that their country was for him.

Townsend used to play international rugby with Redpath’s father Bryan, pictured inset, and the two have kept in regular contact over the years.

This season, while down watching Scotland winger Byron McGuigan in action for Sale Sharks, Townsend visited the Redpath household and he and Cameron spent some time chatting about his future and what that might be.

The chat was amiable and, according to Redpath senior, his son has been impressed by the attacking style of rugby that Scotland have been playing under Townsend.

However, invites to a number of extended England training squads – including one at Twickenham – gave Redpath a glimpse into a potential future with Jones’ side as he worked with players like George Ford and Owen Farrell.

After his brief appearance in Scotland colours at Bridgehaugh in Stirling two years ago – the Scots lost 39-15 to the Auld Enemy – he opted to switch allegiances and the rest, appears to be, history.

After starring for England’s under-18s – in his first six appearances for them Redpath scored six tries – he made his England under-20 debut against Wales in February this year, scoring in the 37-12 win.

A month later and 
Redpath was at it again, this time against France, where he barrelled over to register ­England’s only try in a 22-6 victory.

He made his senior debut for Sale Sharks in the 24-21 
Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Worcester Warriors in November last year.

Having been born in France and lived all of his life south of the border, Redpath seems to have always been swaying towards playing for England, despite his father saying he would “love” him to turn out for Scotland.

In an interview last year Redpath was quoted as saying: “Dad is proud of me playing for England. At the moment it’s all about developing as much and as quickly as I can and England gives me a great opportunity in that sense.

“I live in England, go to school in England and play my Academy rugby in England with Sale. Everything I do is in England so it made sense to decide to play for England.

“He came to watch me play against Scotland and people were having little digs at him with me playing for England. Not everyone sees it from our point of view so it can be hard to hear, but we just get on with it and I make sure I do my best to keep improving.

“You always hear about players who were bigger than everyone else at school, but their career died slowly once they reached the senior level – I don’t want to be like that.

“I like playing inside centre and being another playmaker on the pitch.”

Sedbergh School is certainly proud of his achievement, with headmaster Andrew Fleck ­giving an insight into his ­character. “Cameron is just a great character to be around,” he said. “In the school rugby environment he has always led by example, is always first to training and certainly does not have an ego.

“He is as honest, modest and hard-working as they come and given the fact that he is still at school with us for him to be in a full England squad is just amazing.”

And you get the feeling that even though Redpath senior admits he one day hoped to see his son follow in his footsteps and play in dark blue at BT Murrayfield, there will be nobody prouder than him following yesterday’s news.