Bristol boss Pat Lam has revealed that Callum Sheedy has given the Bears’ England contingent a ribbing now that the Gallagher Premiership leaders are all back in under the one roof following their respective Guinness Six Nations campaign with Wales and Eddie Jones’ English squad.
Sheedy’s Welsh were dramatically denied the Grand Slam with a clock-in-the-red try last Saturday from Brice Dulin in Paris, but that extreme disappointment hasn’t been enough to prevent the Bristol out-half from having a thing or two to amusingly say to the Bears’ England players.
Sheedy stepped off the bench in Cardiff on February 27 to kick 13 points and propel Wales to their Triple Crown victory over an England team that featured Kyle Sinckler as a starter along with Ben Earl and Max Malins off the bench.
That rivalry has now resurfaced on the Bears training ground and Bristol boss Lam has described it as great in helping everyone settle in again for club duty. “The international boys are all keen to get back ASAP which is great,” he reported at his club’s weekly media conference on Wednesday.
“They came in. We all acknowledged them and they have come back with a bit of energy and there was some good banter between Sheedy and the England boys. That was great and a bit of a laugh.
'… the irony with him is when you look at someone like Callum Sheedy, Billy was ahead of him a number of years ago.'
Two 10s. Two differing career paths and fortunes.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 20, 2021
“We had a good day yesterday [Tuesday], a lot of clarity work and bedding them back into the Bears way. These boys haven’t been around for a long time. Max was last involved on Boxing Day, Ben had only had 90 minutes (with England) since Exeter on January 9 and Kyle has had a lot of game time, but they have been away a long time.
“The important thing Tuesday in the high performance centre was just going through the plays to get them back into it. Looking at the video last night they picked it up quite well again so we will have a big session tomorrow [Thursday] and get ready for the weekend (versus Harlequins).”
A replacement versus Wales, Malins made a first Six Nations start in the round four win over France and was due to start again for England last Saturday in Dublin until he suffered a training ground injury the day before.
“He [Malins] came back and our medical team took him for a scan. It’s not too bad, possibly a couple of weeks, so our medical team will rebuild him and get him back to shape and our S&C team will put some work into him to get him back up to speed.
“He strained his quad when he was kicking. Our job is to repair it now and get him back the ability to play and perform. There is a lot of competition there now. Callum Sheedy, massive, his 100th game this week for Bristol.
“When you consider his journey and what he has been able to do, coming right through the academy and now an international player and a very good one, he is a big leader in our team and it’s potentially a big occasion for him this weekend.
“Cal came back in the breaks from Wales and played so it doesn’t seem like he was away and if there is anyone who can slip straight back in it’s Callum Sheedy because of his character, personality and understanding of the Bears way and he is a big part of it.
“He just flicks the switch. He was extremely disappointed (with the loss to France), like all Welsh people, and there is still a bit of hope for them Friday night for that game (against Scotland), but they were seconds away from having it. Knowing Cal, it will motivate him to be even better.”
Uncapped Harry Randall was injured at England training on the weekend of February 20 and when Lam addressed the setback on March 3, he reported that the scrum-half was “another seven, eight weeks, which is frustrating. He had a syndesmosis injury.”
Three weeks later, however, Lam is hopeful Randall will be back in harness a few weeks earlier than planned, saying, “He is a little ahead of schedule.”
Adding to the upbeat mood at Bristol will be the likely return this weekend of Semi Radradra following a knee injury. Bristol haven’t suffered from his absence, winning five and drawing one of their seven matches without him, but Lam is glad to have him back in the mix.
“Semi has been training. He is looking good for selection this week. He’s buzzing, he has been pushing hard. He had a good session (Tuesday) and another one tomorrow. A real credit to our medical and physical performance team, they have been class… Semi had a lot of pride. He wants to get back and perform, he is ready to go.
“It more about him playing well again. He just wants to play rugby. That is the Island way, he wants to get back and play. He is a great trainer, but it’s only a means to an end, he wants to play. We’re seeing that, he’s just buzzing.”
'Can you imagine a Premiership club going ‘Right lads, we’re going skiing’. Absolutely no way… it was me, Bryan Habana & Duane Vermeulen learning to ski together' @Dmjattwood fell out of love with rugby at Bath but found it again, writes @heagneyl ??? https://t.co/QWWZQPD1Ek
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 21, 2021
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