Scotland Under-20 Six Nations call-up Olujare Oguntibeju catches eye of Gregor Townsend

The under-20 men’s Six Nations always gives stars of the future the chance to shine - and Scotland head coach Kenny Murray believes 6 foot 8 second-row Olujare Oguntibeju is a real prospect, stating “he has really caught the eye”.

Scotland Under-20 call-up Olujare Oguntibeju pictured when he signed for Ealing Trailfinders Academy.
Scotland Under-20 call-up Olujare Oguntibeju pictured when he signed for Ealing Trailfinders Academy.

The age-grade tournament mirrors the men’s senior event and the young Scots get their campaign underway at home to England at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh on Friday, February 4 (8pm).

Given the Scots finished bottom of the table last year and England completed a Grand Slam, it could be a daunting opener for some, but you get the feeling that 19-year-old Oguntibeju will take it all in his stride if selected.

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The Nigerian-born forward spent his latter teens in South Africa, but lived in Edinburgh from the age of two to 14 and went to St Augustine’s High School for a spell.

While in the Scottish capital he played a lot of football and basketball, but when he was in South Africa coaches could see his natural size and skill for rugby and it became a big focus for him.

At the start of the 2020/21 season, then 18, he had a trial with Edinburgh Rugby and, that October, he joined the Ealing Trailfinders Academy set-up down south and he is still with them.

His 12 years living in Scotland earlier in life make him Scottish qualified and on Thursday he was one of a number of uncapped players named by new head coach Murray in a 30-strong squad for the upcoming event.

“I was actually chatting to [Scotland head coach] Gregor Townsend about Olujare on Wednesday night because Gregor has been watching a bit of him as well, he has really caught the eye,” Murray said.

“He is a wee bit raw in terms of his rugby experience, but even in training over the last few days you can see that he is a guy who has real athleticism, he has a huge amount of energy and passion and defensively he was getting off the line, he was wanting to ‘get into’ people and be physical and he looked really good.

“We are really excited about him, I think his potential is excellent. If we can work with him and improve parts of his game then he could be an excellent player.”

Other newer names in the group include full-back/centre Robin McLintock who plays for French side Montpellier and South African-born scrum-half Jed Gelderbloom who has recently been training with Edinburgh.

“Robin has a good left boot on him and we think he could be quite important for us and the way we want to play,” Murray explains.

“Jed seems like a decent little player, he is a really solid scrum-half.”

With last year’s skipper Alex Samuel missing due to a shoulder injury, his Glasgow Warriors Academy buddy Rhys Tait will lead Scotland into the tournament.

“Rhys leads from the front, he leads by example and we showed a clip this week to the boys of him from last year making four tackles within 30 seconds in a game - his work rate and effort are excellent and he is really passionate about his game,” Murray said about the 19-year-old from Hawick.

“He wants to do well, he wants to win and he brings a physicality, he is an inspirational guy to have as captain.”

Scotland squad for 2022 under-20 Six Nations

Forwards:

Mikey Jones (Heriot’s Rugby/Edinburgh Rugby)

Tom Banatvala (Durham University)

Ali Rogers (Glasgow Hawks)

Callum Norrie (Strathallan School)

Olly Frostick (Ealing Trailfinders/Henley Hawks)

Gregor Hiddleston (GHA)

Patrick Harrison (Edinburgh Rugby)

Duncan Hood (Bath University)

Max Williamson (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Josh Taylor (Ealing Trailfinders)

Jake Spurway (Durham University)

Tim Brown (Glasgow Hawks)

Rhys Tait (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors, C)

Innes Hill (Ealing Trailfinders)

Olujare Oguntibeju (Ealing Trailfinders)

Matt Deehan (Newcastle Falcons)

Ollie Leatherbarrow (Exeter University)

Backs:

Murray Redpath (Newcastle University)

Jonty Cope (Durham University)

Jed Gelderbloom (Edinburgh Rugby)

Christian Townsend (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors)

Euan Cunningham (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Duncan Munn (Boroughmuir Bears)

Mike Gray (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors)

Ben Salmon (Stirling Wolves)

Andy Stirrat (GHA)

Ross McKnight (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Ben Evans (Heriot’s Rugby/Edinburgh Rugby)

Ollie Melville (Newcastle University)

Robin McLintock (Montpellier)

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