World opens up for Bemand

England are taking three scrum-halves to Australia and not one of them is a household name, even in a rugby household. There's Nick Walshe, Peter Richards and then there's beam- me-up Scotty. Spectators had a rare chance to see Scott Bemand in action last Tuesday night when he played for Leicester against England Under-21s, a match in aid of the Matt Hampson Trust.

Andy Robinson's party of 30 - captained by Pat Sanderson who last year led England A, now re-branded the Saxons, to success in the Churchill Cup - include a dozen from outside the élite squad but few expected the Tigers' understudy to Harry Ellis to make the two-Test trip. "I thought I had an outside chance and I'd heard a couple of rumours," Bemand said. "Matt Dawson has retired, Shaun Perry's injured and Harry's not going so it's nice to get a tour and it's a great opportunity."

Bemand did not get the news in a phone call from Robinson. His wife Lucy spotted it on Teletext while Bemand was recovering from a stag do the night before. "It wasn't too rowdy," he said, which is surprising considering that (a) it was held at Welford Road and (b) it was a mass rite of passage with a whole colony of Tigers - Louis Deacon, Lewis Moody, Jamie Hamilton, Will Johnson and Leon Lloyd - heading for the altar.

Bemand may have benefited from the fact that England are not spoilt for choice for world- class No 9s, but what makes this end of season bonus all the more remarkable is that he has started only four matches for Leicester.

In pre-season training last summer (the Tigers' notorious sessions come with a health warning) he smashed an ankle in a pile-up. He had just about recovered by Christmas when he was invalided out of another training session.

"Graham Rowntree caught me in one of his chewing-gum tackles and my ankle went again." Chewing gum? "You know, one of those wraparound tackles. There's no escape. To tell you the truth, by this time I had written the season off."

Bemand comes from a rugby-loving farming family in Herefordshire. "We played for the Luctonians in the Midland division and we all supported Leicester. As a kid one of my heroes was Dean Richards and I used to see him because he visited our farm for pheasant shoots. I got my first taste of professional rugby at Moseley and had four years there until it went tits up. The backers pulled out and the administrators came in."

Bemand moved to Harlequins in 2001 and worked with the former England scrum-half Richard Hill. After three years at The Stoop Bemand left on a high, Quins winning the European Challenge Cup. "Fortunately, Leicester came in with an offer. If you can be competitive there you're in good shape. It's ironic that I was at Quins before Dean Richards arrived and at Leicester after he'd left."

Richards, who has had a season at Quins overseeing their return to the Premiership, is in the frame for the new England post of director of élite rugby, along with Sir Clive Woodward, Rob Andrew, Nick Mallett and Warren Gatland. They have been invited to submit their CVs but the Rugby Football Union are in no hurry to finalise the appointment. At least their deadline for naming a supremo who will have overall control of the new structure is not as pressing as recruiting Robinson's coaching team for Australia, bearing in mind they leave Heathrow at the beginning of June.

Interviews were held last week and, as expected, Brian Ashton will be in charge of attack, John Wells the forwards and Mike Ford defence. Referring to the RFU review that led to a radical overhaul at Twickenham, Robinson said: "It's been a difficult month. I hate where England are now in terms of results but it was right to have the review and I think we'll be the better for it."

For the time being Robinson, whose forte was the forwards when he was Sir Clive's assistant, is happy for Wells to take charge of the pack. "My position now is stronger not weaker than before," Robinson maintained. "In the end one person will have the final say on selection and that person will be me." Or the new élite director.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor