Derrick Appiah is a behemoth of a man. Standing over six feet tall and over 120 kilograms in weight, he is a physical specimen for only 23 years of age. Appiah, pronounced ‘A-pee-uh’ arrived at Scottish after two years at Worcester Warriors and a short stint up north in the Scottish Capital.
“I grew up in Italy and played rugby over there. I made Italy Under 20s and played in the Six Nations – which allowed me the chance to play at Worcester.”
Appiah recalled how he struggled to adapt to living in England during his first year at the Warriors, “the first year over here (England) was very hard, my English was not very good and there were lots of different accents at Worcester, I had to really focus on what people were saying to me to understand it”. Despite his struggles with the language barrier, Appiah spoke very positively of his time with Worcester, “it was a great move going to Worcester, in my second year I played lots of A-League and appeared in the European competitions”.
With such a physical presence and junior International experience, it is not surprising that Appiah was highly sought after during his time at Worcester. When Edinburgh had a mini injury crisis at loosehead prop, Appiah was dragged North of the Wall to help the Gunners out.
“I really enjoyed it up there (Edinburgh), it’s a beautiful city, I felt comfortable there. I played quite a lot too which made the experience worthwhile. I think my form for Edinburgh got me on the Italy ‘A’ tour which was brilliant. I played Namibia, Argentina ‘B’ and Uruguay – I learned a lot on that tour.”
This is not Appiah’s first down with London Scottish, he came on loan last season for a week so was fairly familiar with surroundings when he joined this Summer. He seems to have settled well and integrated into the squad seamlessly. “There’s a lot of good people here, I’m enjoying being given an opportunity to play.”
The big ex-Warriors prop has moved into one of the ‘rugby houses’ this season which has further allowed him to settle well into London Scottish. “We are like one big family. I live with Rob (Stevenson), Josh Barton, Quilso (Ewan McQuillin) and Isaac Miller. We all get on very well, we know when we want our own space but also, it’s good because we have a lot of craic in the house after training and on our days off. Isaac has started DJ’ing, he called himself ‘DJ Nonek’ so there’s always some good music playing in the house.”
Looking forward, despite his young age, the Italian spoke very maturely and professionally when looking ahead for the season. “I can’t look too far ahead, I focus now week by week and I’m not worried about what I might do next year. For now I’m just enjoying getting some game time and liking being at London Scottish.”
The prop, who grew up in Modena, has now acclimatised to life in the UK but he still misses things from his native homeland. As an Italian, it is unsurprising that Appiah said the main thing he misses from his homeland was the food.
“The food is amazing in Italy, I love it so much. It’s not that I don’t like the English food but in comparison to Italian food, it does not even compare. The Pizza, the Tortellini, Ravioli…” There was a slight pause in the conversation as the Italian looked up dreaming of the Italian cuisine before continuing saying, “I miss my Mum’s food you know”.
A noticeable character on the field with his aggressive carries and intensity in defence, he is hard to miss from the Saltire Stand. At the beginning of the season, Appiah decided to make himself even more recognisable as he dyed his Mohawk bright peroxide blonde.
He laughs recounting his impulsive decision, “I just did it for the craic, I had just come out of a long-term relationship and I wanted a change, I wanted to do something I had not done before.”
The Italian is making waves, not only with his brash hair style but also his shuddering hits and destructive ball carrying at The Athletic Ground. A young player with a mature outlook on the season and what the future may hold, Appiah will be looking to cement himself in the starting XV in the Greene King IPA Championship over the coming weeks.
The Italian may be missing the food from his native Italy and crave his mum’s cooking, but he seems to have settled well at London Scottish and has adapted to life in South West London.
Derrick is named on the replacements bench this weekend for our game versus Hartpury College. Buy your tickets HERE
Derrick Appiah is sponsored by Sir David Reid