Monday, 18 May 2009
Chris Oti (born in London on 16 June 1965) was a winger of prodigious pace who represented England on thirteen occasions between 1988 to 1991. He was a member of the England squad that appeared in the 1991 Rugby World Cup during which he made two appearances.
Chris Oti had a brief career as a top flight Rugby Union player.He was the first black player since James Peters eighty years before to represent England when he made his international debut against Scotland at Murrayfield in March 1988.
In the final game of the 1988 Championship Oti scored a hat trick of tries against Ireland. As Oti scored his final try, a group from the Benedictine school Douai began singing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot', in honour of Oti. Other sections of the crowd joined in and the negro spiritual has since become an unofficial anthem of the national side.
Oti was capped five times the following season including against Romania when he scored four tries. He was selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia but persistent injuries meant that he was not considered for the test side.
In 1991 he was surprisingly picked ahead of Nigel Heslop for the opening World Cup match against New Zealand and kept his place for the following game against Italy. This turned out to be his last international appearance as further injuries curtailed his career.
At club level Oti represented Cambridge University, Nottingham RFC and London Wasps.