Scotland hope for Oli Kebble now Glasgow Warriors' uncertainty has eased

Oli Kebble believes that his performances for Glasgow Warriors in recent weeks have been good enough to earn a call-up to the Scotland training squad which begins preparing today for Saturday's clash against Grand Slam chasing France.

There is a vacancy in the squad at loose-head after Rory Sutherland suffered rib and shoulder injuries against Wales, and with Jamie Bhatti out for another few weeks with a hand issue, Kebble is the obvious choice for a call-up.

Pierre Schoeman is certain to start in the No 1 jersey against Les Bleus, while Allan Dell was a late call-up for Bhatti three weeks ago. If he is added to the group later today, then Kebble’s bulk could be a key consideration as the Scotland coaching team look to put together a match-day 23 able to cope with the mountainous French. At 19½ stone, he is two-and-half-stone heavier than Dell. Kebble has also had more recent game time at both club and international level, including 65 minutes at the pit-face on Saturday night’s gritty 13-3 victory over Benetton in monsoon conditions at Scotstoun.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Yeah, I’m playing well enough, I think,” he said. “I’m just trying to put my hand up by playing well for Glasgow and we’ll see where it goes from there. Hopefully, I’ve done enough to get a crack against France.

Warriors Oli Kebble during a Glasgow training session at Scotstoun. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“The Six Nations is a long tournament so I never thought when I missed out initially that there wouldn’t be opportunities going forward, so the best thing I can do is play some good rugby out there [for Glasgow] and hopefully earn that opportunity.”

Kebble’s omission from Gregor Townsend’s initial training squad last month was a surprise but not a major shock with his early season see-sawing between loose-head and tight-head not helping his selection prospects against the specialists on both sides of the front-row who did make the cut.

He has now played nine consecutive club matches at loose-head – his last outing at tight-head was in November – but insists that he remains happy to wear the No 3 jersey, or any other jersey for that matter, if it means he can add to his current cap tally of 10.

“Loose-head is where I’m playing at the moment but as I’ve said before, I’ll play anywhere for Scotland and for Glasgow, so wherever they want me, if they want me, I’ll keep putting my hand up whenever I get a chance,” he stressed.

Stuart Hogg (left) and Oli Kebble of Scotland at full time of the Autumn Nations Series match between Scotland and Australia at BT Murrayfield. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Saturday’s victory leaves Warriors third in the United Rugby Championship table. They are just one point behind joint leaders Leinster and Ulster (although Leinster have a game in hand).

“The conditions kind of worsened as the game went on, and Treviso are a really good side, so we expected a battle,” said Kebble. “It probably wasn’t the prettiest at times, but sometimes you’ve got to win ugly, so we’re really happy with the result.

“I suppose it is the sign of a championship team, we are pushing at the top now and even when we’re not playing at our best, we are managing to win games.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Last season was so disrupted, so to have that consistency of five wins in a row in the league – there is a lot of confidence in our changing room which is a good thing.”

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today