‘Massive asset’ Callum Sheedy can drive Wales towards overdue win – Pat Lam

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent
·3-min read

Callum Sheedy has been described as “a massive asset to any team” ahead of his potential first start for Wales.

Bristol fly-half Sheedy made his Test debut as a second-half substitute in the 32-9 Autumn Nations Cup defeat against Ireland five days ago.

But he could be handed the number 10 shirt when Wales host Georgia on Saturday, with head coach Wayne Pivac set to field a much-changed team from the one on duty in Dublin.

Pivac’s pre-planned selection approach to the Georgia game appears unlikely to change, despite Wales being on a run of six successive losses, which is their worst sequence of results since 2012.

Sheedy excelled for Bristol last season, playing a pivotal role as they reached the Gallagher Premiership play-offs, before kicking 22 points when he inspired a European Challenge Cup final victory over Toulon.

And Sheedy’s Bristol boss Pat Lam has no doubt that the 25-year-old will relish his opportunity if it comes this weekend.

“I am really excited and really proud of him,” Bristol rugby director Lam said.

Bristol Bears v Dragons – European Challenge Cup – Quarter Final – Ashton Gate
Bristol rugby director Pat Lam says Callum Sheedy would improve any team (Adam Davy/PA)

“He is on this journey, and I think the big thing is – take away the rugby – Callum is the greatest person.

“He is so coachable, and as I said to Wayne (Pivac) he is a player that is a massive asset to any team.

“I think the big thing for Callum, and I had a chat to him yesterday, is making sure that the guys around him trust him, have no fear and they connect well.

“And that’s what he is good at. Our game is not about a 10 running everything.

Wales v Scotland – Guinness Six Nations – Parc y Scarlets
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac is looking for a win (David Davies/PA)

“It is about a collective and making sure that if Liam Williams wants a cross-kick, tell Callum and he will give you one. If (Nick) Tompkins or Jonathan Davies asks to put the grubber-kick through, just tell him, he will do it.”

Cardiff-born Sheedy also qualified for Ireland via his parents and England on residency – he represented England in a non-cap game against the Barbarians last year – before opting for Wales and being named in Pivac’s latest squad.

Lam added: “Talking to Wayne, he has fitted in really well in the group. He is magnetic, and because of his character the guy will never struggle making friends.

“He is a really approachable and open guy, but I know what he will stress to the guys, if he’s selected, is that it is about the here and the now, it’s not about what has gone before.

“He will be excited about the opportunity if he gets the chance, but he will pull those guys around him and I know the key message he will say is, ‘I need you fellas. I need you guys’. And he will do whatever it takes for the team.

“He will be fine, and there is only one way when they are on the back of these losses. It’s not to think about the win, but think about the performance.

“And I have no doubt that if Callum is at 10, he will drive that with the other key players in that team and they will do a good job.”

Pivac will name his starting Wales line-up on Thursday, with Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit and Scarlets centre Johnny Williams also among those who could feature in his thinking.