Saturday 7 December 2019

Ireland-eligible Sheedy riding high for Lam's Bristol

Given that Sheedy has started the season as the form fly-half in the Premiership, he may well have a decision to make soon. (stock photo)
Given that Sheedy has started the season as the form fly-half in the Premiership, he may well have a decision to make soon. (stock photo)

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

While the signing of Fijian sensation Semi Radradra may represent how big-spending Bristol are widely perceived now, the tale of Ireland-eligible Callum Sheedy remains relevant to the narrative.

A product of the club's academy, he has risen from a disillusioned third-choice fly-half when Pat Lam arrived in 2017 to regular Premiership starter and appeared in England's 51-43 win against the Barbarians in June.

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Also hanging in the family home are Wales and Ireland shirts worn by Sheedy in representative matches, at U-16 and U-19 level respectively.

As the England game was uncapped, the 24-year-old is still eligible for all three nations. Given that Sheedy has started the season as the form fly-half in the Premiership, he may well have a decision to make soon.

Far from cynically playing the game, Sheedy has genuine ties to all three countries. His father, Philip, is Irish; his mother, Jacqui, is Welsh.

"I am very proud of all three links," Sheedy said. "I am very proud of my Irish background. My dad is a very patriotic Irishman. I am very proud of my Welsh background having been born and raised in Cardiff.

Proud

"I am very proud of becoming English-qualified because I came to school in England and Bristol took a chance on me. I'm not even thinking about what happens next, I've got enough to focus on with Bristol."

Sheedy feared the worst when Lam signed Ireland fly-half Ian Madigan. However, Lam soon told him and other academy products they were at the centre of his vision.

Last season Sheedy started 13 league games and he has begun this campaign as the first-choice fly-half, and will start his fifth consecutive Premiership match at home to London Irish tomorrow.

Radradra will not join the club until next season but top-of-the-table Bristol welcome back Charles Piutau (ankle), John Afoa (calf) and Nathan Hughes (finger), while Madigan is out through illness.

Australia second-row Adam Coleman will make his London Irish debut from the bench. Former Ulster and Ireland No 10 Paddy Jackson moves to full-back, with Stephen Myler taking the 10 jersey. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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