Rapper Mark Osei-Tutu is eager to complete his transition from garage music MC to first-choice number eight for London Cornish after joining the Putney-based Rugby club.

Osei-Tutu, aka Neutrino of south London urban music collective So Solid Crew, insists that, while rugby is not his first love, he has not joined the club just to make up the numbers.

He said: "I have always been interested in rugby, even though I come from a football background, but the school I went to didn't have the facilities.

"The closest thing I got to rugby at school was British Bulldog.

"At first, I joined the club to keep myself fit, but now I have a taste for it, I want to push myself up to the first team.

"I have been playing as a winger in pre-season, but I see myself more as a number eight."

The 25-year-old rapper, one half of Oxide & Neutrino, who shot to fame with hit song Bound 4 Da Reload in 2000, follows fellow So Solid member and former AFC Wimbledon midfielder Michael Harvey - aka MC Harvey - into semi-professional sport.

At 6ft 1in and 15 stone, former goalkeeper Osei-Tutu was forced to give up Sunday League football due to his size, but claims his transition from round to oval ball has been seemless.

He said: "I have been body building for about five years and, eventually, my body got too big for football.

"But the thing about playing in goal is that you are not as involved in the game and it can get a little boring.

"I like everything about rugby. I enjoy the gameplay, the strategy and the fact that you have to use your brain."

And, despite his tough upbringing on the streets of south London, Osei-Tutu insists he has been welcomed to the rugby club with open arms.

"For whatever reason, rugby players have a reputation for being posh but I have fitted right in," he said.

"A lot of the guys have come from a different background than me but we all get on.

"When I joined, I thought I would be the one standing in the corner by myself but it is not like that at all "I love the camaraderie - everyone at the club has really embraced me."

Osei-Tutu admits he is pushing his body to the limit to fulfil his dream of breaking into for the Cornish first XV, but insists his hard work is reaping the awards.

He said: "The fitness work is killing me.

"We are in the middle of pre-season and the past four weeks have been murder, but I have been pushing myself and I can feel myself get fitter.

"I can't wait for the season to start."