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Sheedy driven by competition with good friend Evans

International | 7th July 2021

Having come through the ranks going head-to-head with each other on a regular basis, Wales outside half Callum Sheedy is driven by his competition with 'good friend' Jarrod Evans for the number 10 jersey.

The Bristol Bears playmaker, who featured for Cardiff at age grade level, was given the nod to start the summer’s opening clash against Canada after Evans was ruled out with an ankle injury.

The outside half racked up 14 points from the tee and contributed a try assist before being replaced by debutant Ben Thomas on the hour mark.

It’s still early days in Evans and Sheedy’s international careers, but the friendly and competitive nature in training gives the Bristol star memories of his days playing junior rugby for St Peter’s.

”We go all the way back to the under-10s when I was playing for St Peter's and he was playing for Pontyclun," said Sheedy.

"Even then people would be saying it's Callum v Jarrod. We get on brilliantly and we're good friends off the pitch. It's very competitive on the pitch, but great we can have that bit of banter.

"We'd like to think we help to get the best out of each other, not just in this camp, but since we were 10."

One man who knows all about wearing the famous number 10 jersey for Wales is Stephen Jones. The former Scarlet, who won 104 caps for his country, is now the backs coach in Wayne Pivac’s coaching team.

The former Lion confirms that Evans is back in contention ahead of the first of two Tests against Argentina, and, despite Dan Biggar’s absence, he feels blessed to have a wealth of options at outside half.

“Jarrod is fit and was training with us this afternoon. The medical team have done a fantastic job with him, just as Jarrod has done in managing himself. From our perspective, it’s great that we’ve got all our players available to us,” explained Jones.

“Callum Sheedy is a great ball player when it comes to attacking the line and Jarrod is the same. 

“They’re both great attacking threats and then there’s young Ben Thomas, who had a run out at No 10. 

“We’ve got a huge amount of natural ability. It’s great for us and the way we want to play the game. 

“They’ve got great skill-sets with which to ask questions of defences. That’s how we want to play the game. We’re blessed in that position.”

Working alongside Jones in Wales' backroom staff is former Cardiff, Pontypridd, Wales and Lions outside half, Neil Jenkins, who remains his nation's all-time top points scorer.

Sheedy is blown away by the opportunity to learn from the duo, with Jones being amongst his heroes while growing up.

Sheedy added: “It was weird when I first met Steve because I grew up watching him, and his battles with Ronan O’Gara over the years would be my favourite games and stuff. When I got to finally speak to him I was a bit sheepish and could not believe it was actually him.

"Being able to work with him and see his ideas, his energy and enthusiasm on the game and for attacking rugby really does rub off on the players. I definitely feel by working with Stephen and Neil – those guys who have played 10 for Wales with so many caps – just makes me such a better person and player.

“Steve and Wayne (Pivac, Wales’ head coach) are all for 'if you see it, go for it', so in terms of the bigger picture, there aren’t that many differences (between Wales and Bristol).

"When you get to the international stage, you have to be a little bit more pragmatic in terms of where you are playing on the pitch. Territory is key in a lot of these games. That doesn’t mean you kick everything, because you can still run and make ground. It is kind of marrying up the two.”