Callum Sheedy leading Bristol Bears play-off charge

Bristol’s derby day win over Bath sent the Bears third in the Premiership table, a far cry from their years stuck in the Championship. Among all the current and future star names, it is a homegrown fly half who attracting a lot of the attention. 24-year-old Callum Sheedy is rapidly becoming and integral part of Pat Lam’s vision.

Callum Sheedy leading Bristol Bears play-off charge

Sheedy’s centimetre perfect kick against Bath last weekend was just one example of his skillset that is powering the Bears’ progress. His assured place-kicking performances against Sale and Gloucester, in testing conditions, have also contributed to wins this season.

The fact that Irish international Ian Madigan is even struggling to make the bench is another huge plus in Sheedy’s column. With youngster Ioan Lloyd also bursting on the scene this season, it’s not like Sheedy is without competition for the ten shirt.

Captaincy not a burden

On the one hand, having major international stars like Charles Piutau, John Afoa and Nathan Hughes attracting most of the attention might be a positive for a young player. But for Sheedy, taking on responsibility seems to be part of his game.

Not only is he the playmaker and goalkicker at number ten, he is also often captain or co-captain of the team. For some 24-year-olds only in their second season this could be very daunting. Clearly then, Pat Lam believes in him and backs him all the way.

European title in sight

With Bristol just one point off second place, some fans may be getting excited for a trip to Twickenham in June. However, it is perhaps more likely that Bristol will taste European success this season, in the Challenge Cup.

Bristol will welcome the Dragons to Ashton Gate for an Anglo-Welsh quarter final in April and would expect to progress further in the competition. Toulon and Bordeaux-Begles could provide tough competition in the latter stages but led by Sheedy et al. the Bears will fear no-one.

International call-up on the horizon?

Callum Sheedy’s eye-catching performances have not gone unnoticed by the wider viewer either. Incredibly, he’s already racked up age-grade and non-cap appearances for England, Ireland and Wales and it is the latter who are most interested now. Wayne Pivac has something of a fly-half crisis ahead of Wales’ game with England, and may yet provide the Cardiff-born man with another baptism of fire.

Realistically though, Sheedy will line up for Bristol against Harlequins in the next round of the Premiership hoping to fire Bristol into the top two.

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