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'He isn't perfect': Callum Sheedy became a Wales hero last Saturday but praise is hard-earned back at Bristol

By Liam Heagney

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Callum Sheedy came of age as an international level out-half last Saturday, guiding Wales to an emphatic 16 points victory over England at the Principality Stadium to clinch the Triple Crown and keep alive their 2021 Six Nations Grand Slam bid. 

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The 25-year-old came off the bench early in the second half in Cardiff to win his seventh cap and he booted England into oblivion with a smart display that culminated in him contributing 13 points to his team’s total in their 40-24 triumph. 

He has since returned to English league leaders Bristol ahead of Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership clash at Worcester and Pat Lam has reported that the perfectionist in Sheedy has seen the player busy working on his game rather than bask in the fuzzy glow of being a pivotal contributor to the Wales success over England. 

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Wales back row Dan Lydiate guests with Jamie Roberts and Dylan Hartley on the latest RugbyPass Offload
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Wales back row Dan Lydiate guests with Jamie Roberts and Dylan Hartley on the latest RugbyPass Offload

“What he is learning from us is having an impact in Wales and his experience, what he is doing in Wales, is the next stage for both teams,” enthused Lam about Sheedy, who made a November 2015 British and Irish Cup debut for Bristol.  

“It’s just his development. Take away Bristol, takes away Wales, it’s about his journey and the confidence and the growth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m talking really well of him but he is not perfect – like any rugby player – but the key is their learnings.

“We’re always talking about the learnings and the process but that is what he does. It’s not rocket science. When he doesn’t get something right he goes ‘What can I do?’ There will be things from that (Wales) game he will be hard on himself as well. What he does is gets back into work. He was down doing skills this morning… it’s just the process he is following and he is getting the rewards.”

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Having played for England in their June 2019 exhibition game against the Barbarians, Sheedy could have declared for Eddie Jones’ side while was also eligible for Ireland having played for them at age-grade level. However, the Cardiff-born half-back opted for Wales last autumn and he hasn’t looked back in becoming a regular matchday 23 selection under Pivac, a selection consistency that culminated in last Saturday’s exploits versus England.

“I wasn’t surprised at all,” continued Lam. “Callum does the work, he is very composed, he understands the game really well and he is not afraid to call the right shots and he will back it. The best 10s for me, they make the guys around them look good. 

“They have got to be game plan players in the sense what is the team looking to do and they drive that, that is one of the key components at 10. What Callum does is what he can do for the team. The show and go (against England), I see it all the time with us. 

“His goal kicking has been excellent for us. There was an outlier that happened against Scotland but I wasn’t worried about it at all. I said he’ll come back and sure enough, he was back doing the work and hit six from six against London Irish.

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“That is the bonus of him coming back (on fallow Six Nations weeks). After the Scotland game, he had the game against London Irish to tidy up a few things. That was a bonus for him coming and getting some more rugby with us. He knocked six from six, took that confidence back into the Wales camp and was sensational with the goal kicks. They were all clutch kicks. 

“Everything he has done on that stage, the intercept he has done that so many times for us. He is just doing what he does but the biggest thing he does is the preparation. The key is preparation meets the opportunity. He is getting the opportunity, he has done the prep and that is what you are getting (with Wales). It doesn’t surprise me at all.”

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'He isn't perfect': Callum Sheedy became a Wales hero last Saturday but praise is hard-earned back at Bristol

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