Nathan McBeth unsure about international future as Scottish-qualified South African signs new Glasgow Warriors deal
The Glasgow Warriors prop has just signed a new contract, committing himself to the club for the next four seasons, and he cited Franco Smith’s influence as one of the chief reasons for the long-term deal. Born in Welkom, Free State, McBeth moved to Scotland to join the Warriors from the Emirates Lions in October 2021. He has been used mainly off the bench, with 22 of his 26 Glasgow appearances coming as a replacement, but he was a regular in Smith’s matchday squad last season as the revitalised team finished fourth in the United Rugby Championship and reached their first European final.
He is targeting continued progress but his long-term goal is to step up to Test level, whether that be with Scotland or the Springboks.
“I just want to play international rugby to be honest,” said McBeth whose grandfather from Edinburgh makes him dual qualified. “It’s the highest level you can reach, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing for. If I can, I would like to play international rugby. But for who I just don’t know. I don’t know what my decision would be.”
The path from South Africa to the Scotland national team is well trodden and there were four South African-born players in Gregor Townsend’s World Cup squad, including props Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel. McBeth has always been aware of his Scottish heritage and the loosehead wore dark blue during the 2018 U20 Six Nations when he played alongside future Glasgow team-mates Rory Darge, Ross Thompson, Stafford McDowall and Murphy Walker. Later that year, he switched to South Africa and was part of the junior Springboks squad which finished third at the World Rugby U20 Championship.
“My grandad was born in Edinburgh which is why I’m Nathan McBeth – although I’m very Afrikaans,” he said. “He lived in Cape Town and we grew up in Gauteng so we didn’t see him that much when we were growing up. But if you call him you can tell he’s Scottish! He’s still in South Africa. He moved over when he was 16 or 17. He’d love me to play for Scotland and I’d love to bring him over here as well.”
These are exciting times for McBeth and his wife Micaela who gave birth to son Noah six weeks ago. They are putting down roots in Glasgow and the prop says he wants to continue to grow and learn under Smith at Scotstoun.
“We’ll be staying until 2027. It’s a very big commitment but for me and my family we made this decision to stay. We love the group here and Franco is such a good coach. As long as I can play under him, I want to. That’s also a big reason why we’re staying. Franco gets the best out of you. He’ll tell you when you’re doing your best but also when you’re not. That’s the respect you want as a rugby player, to be told when you’re off it as well. It can’t always be good. He’s been mentoring us to become better people as well as players. I like that a lot.”
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