Glasgow Warriors: New signing Oli Kebble targets Scotland honours

Oli Kebble
Oli Kebble will join Glasgow Warriors at the conclusion of this year's Super Rugby tournament

Oli Kebble wants to follow in the footsteps of South African-born prop WP Nel, and represent Scotland.

Kebble will join Glasgow Warriors from the Cape Town-based Stormers after his Super Rugby commitments this year.

The 24-year-old prop will qualify for Scotland honours after completing three years of residency under World Rugby's controversial eligibility criteria.

"That's definitely a goal of mine," he told BBC Scotland of his Test ambitions.

"I'd love to play international rugby and to play for Scotland would be a great honour. I know there's a three-year waiting period and we'll see how far I come, but it would definitely be a great thing if I could represent Scotland one day.

"For any rugby player, the ultimate goal would be to play international rugby, so I definitely considered that when talking to the Scottish Rugby Union, and that's why I chose Glasgow in the end."

'I've been sticking around here and I haven't had a look-in'

The son of former Springboks prop Guy, Kebble represented South Africa at under-20 level, turning out in the same side as current Scotland front-row Allan Dell.

But the loose-head has grown frustrated at the lack of opportunities in his homeland and believes Scotland can provide alternative route to the international stage - even if, as has been widely mooted, the residency period is extended from three to five years.

Alongside Nel, former Golden Lions captain Josh Strauss also qualified for Scotland after spending three years with Glasgow, establishing himself as the ball-carrying fulcrum of the Warriors back-row.

Fellow loose forward CJ Stander followed the same path to Ireland honours, and starred for Joe Schmidt's men during this year's Six Nations Championship.

"I'm quite keen for a change, live overseas for a bit," Kebble added. "I've been sticking around here and I haven't really had a look-in at all, so I decided to make the move.

CJ Stander hodls off Scott Williams
CJ Stander represents Ireland having qualified though residency

"There are a lot of great props in South Africa, but the fact that I'm not getting any closer over the past three or four Super Rugby seasons has definitely been a factor.

"I remember watching WP Nel when I was at school; he was a great prop for the Cheetahs, and I was sad to see him leave South Africa, but I think he's really made the most of his opportunities, so I'm looking to do a similar thing for sure.

"I think with guys like CJ, it was a similar situation to me. They were playing Super Rugby, but playing behind some great players. So just looking for opportunities elsewhere and taking those opportunities with both hands.

"There's just such a great pool of rugby talent in South Africa, so many schools play rugby here and there are lots of guys coming through all the time. Sometimes it's difficult to manage all the talent when you can only pick 15 or 23 players every day. Some guys wait for their chance to come, and other players decide to maybe go look somewhere else."

'I don't see this as an inferior move'

Kebble has yet to speak with incoming head coach Dave Rennie, who will succeed Gregor Townsend when the Warriors boss steps up to take charge of Scotland this summer.

Dave Rennie
Dave Rennie will succeed Gregor Townsend as Glasgow Warriors head coach after the Super Rugby season ends

He will have that opportunity next week, after Rennie's Chiefs tackle the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

"I've spoken mostly to (Scotland forwards coach) Jon Humphreys," Kebble said. "We're setting up a meeting for after the Chiefs game with Dave Rennie and Jon is also flying down. We didn't want to talk too much before we actually played them.

"(Dave Rennie coming in) was definitely one of the factors I considered, they're really pulling together a strong squad, and they've signed one of the best coaches in the world.

"It's a chance for me to develop as a player, learn new skills overseas, I don't see this as an inferior move or anything like that, it's just an opportunity to learn more and develop my skill-set."

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