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Christopher Oti


 

When I was younger I had the privilege of watching Chris Oti play for Nottingham. That Nottingham side also included the England players Brian Moore, Gary Rees, Rob Andrew, and Simon Hodgkinson. He is perhaps the fastest winger I have seen.

Above England Internationals at Nottingham (L-R) Brian Moore, Gary Rees, Chris Oti

Born on 16th June 1965 in Paddington, London. He had a privileged education at Millfield School (former school of the present England captain Chris Robshaw), Durham University and Cambridge University. He was a Cambridge Rugby Blue in 1986

When selected to play for England in 1988 he became only the 2nd coloured player to play for England since James Peters in 1908, a staggering 80 years.

In the final game of the 1988 Championship Oti scored a hat trick of tries against Ireland. The first hat-trick by an English player at Twickenham since1924.  As Oti scored his final try, a group from the Benedictine school Douai began singing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot', in honor of Oti. Other sections of the crowd joined in and the negro spiritual song has since become an unofficial anthem of the national side. The song itself originated in the USA in the 1850s and was written by Wallace Willis, a slave in Oklahoma.

He had switched to play for Wasps in 1988 after one season playing for Nottingham.

He suffered recurring knee injuries and as a result never got back the speed from those early days.

Oti played in 1991 World Cup and had a disastrous match against New Zealand, which was the opening match of the tournament. For the next match against Italy he switched wings with Rory Underwood but it wasn’t a success and it was his last game for England.

He won 13 England caps, scoring 8 tries. He played on the 1989 Lions tour of Australia but never played in a test. A career that started in such a blaze of glory, but ended after such a short period of time.

 

Above Chris Oti at Wasps

He left Wasps in 1993. He qualified as a surveyor but his present whereabouts are unknown

email: patrick.casey@cliftonrfchistory.co.uk

http://sites.google.com/site/caseybooks/

 

Patrick Casey, 2010
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