Northampton Saints will follow up on Jim Mallinder's hints last week about new signing announcements by revealing today the signing of Australian International Cameron Shepherd.
Wallaby international Shepherd becomes a Saint
Northampton Saints will today announce the signing of Australian international back Cameron Shepherd.
The 28-year-old, whose 6’2”, 104kg frame is an imposing presence in the backline, is equally comfortable on the wing or at full back and will arrive at Franklin’s Gardens after a six-year stint at Perth-based Western Force.
As the Super Rugby outfit’s all-time leading points scorer Shepherd has repeatedly shown not just his ability to find the try line but also land crucial match-winning kicks. His talent, which was first recognised in Sydney by the New South Wales Waratahs, led to representative honours with Australia Under-21, Australia ‘A’ and Australia.
The first of his nine caps came against England – the country of his birth – in 2006 and he also played for the Wallabies in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Regarded as one of Australian rugby’s most talented attacking players, Shepherd is excited by the prospect of pulling on the black, green and gold in Aviva Premiership Rugby and the Heineken Cup.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me,” he said. “I’ve heard lots of good things about Jim Mallinder as a coach and about the Saints as a club. Jim has got the team playing a great brand of rugby which I believe suits my style of play and to which I think I’ve got a lot to offer.
“It is definitely going to be a new challenge for me. The Premiership is a tough competition and there are a lot of teams which like to play exciting rugby, especially the Saints. You can see that with the quality of player that there is at the club, players like Ben Foden and George Pisi, who are established internationals.
“I’m looking forward to playing with those guys and the rest of the squad, and for playing for a club which has a great reputation and an amazing history. Northampton is similar to the Force in that it has a great fanbase behind the team and I’m looking forward to showing the Saints supporters what I can do as a player.
“I can’t wait to get there.”
Shepherd was born in England but grew up in Sydney playing basketball and rugby for Barker College. He would later sign with the New South Wales Waratahs. In 2003 Shepherd represented Australia at the under-21 level and the following year he played for Australia A. In 2005, Shepherd signed a three year deal with new franchise, the Western Force.
Following a successful season with the Force in their inaugural season in 2006, Shepherd was included in the Wallabies squad. On 9 September 2006 Shepherd received his first starting cap when he was selected on the wing for the Wallabies in the final test of the 2006 Tri Nation Series in South Africa.
Shepherd scored a conversion to his own try for the Force on the left touch-line after the siren on 9 March 2007 against the Hurricanes to record the first ever home win for the Force in the Super 14 competition.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Shepherd is a good addition to the Saints squad.
“Cameron is a very talented player who has shown regularly that he has the ability and temperament to compete at the highest level,” he said. “He has a positive impact for his team’s attacking capability but is also sold defensively and under the high ball. He will also give us another goal kicking option, and his versatility and quality will give us added depth in the back three positions.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming him to Franklin’s Gardens and believe that he will contribute a good deal to the squad.”
a muscle strain and a wrist injury that has been resolved by surgery doesn't seem to be a concern IMO. I'm sure he has gone through the usual medical tests before signing and as StOwen said should have a point to prove.
That will go a long way to settle some of the "lack of recruitment of quality" nerves we have had round here. Good powereful player that can cover fullback and wing, who can kick. Remind anyone of Bruce at all?
Looks a good signing. Welcome to the Saints, Cameron. He seems to have the skill mix we need and it is good to have cover for Ben when needed. That has been a big problem area since the departure of Bruce, Bruce, Bruce.
He doesn't quite fit the typical mould of a player in his mid twenties but he has experience and that will be a massive benefit. We have perhaps recruited too many developing players in the past. In key positions we need some "been there done that" performers.
St Owen Also note James Burridge on BBC suggesting Jim is looking to bring in a 'fly-half' and 'centre' over the coming weeks.
Interesting comment about a 'fly-half', because I understood from my source that both the Saints' established 10s were under contract until 2013. It is also said that if you were looking for a 'world class' 10 then the starting level being offered in France was £400k.
Either there is a lot left in the kitty or the prospective signing is being groomed for future stardom post 2013?
The forces reaction to his departure suggests he will be missed.. The references to injuries is a little worrying as the premiership is a lot more physical than that powder puff rugby they play in the southern hemisphere.. Im sure the hood will sort him out..
I get the feeling that because it is a 3 year deal and he is a high level player....he may be coming to us a a very reasonable price due to not playing much in the past couple of years due to his injury time.
I guess we offer him a good length of contract with middle of the road wages and take the risk that he will play 80% of the games that he would of had he not been out for so long with injuries. He is happy because of the security and we might get an excellent player that stays fit
Great stuff. Western Force supporters blog suggests that they rate him highly and considers that he has been unlucky with injuries. Perhaps a new start and challenge is just what he needs. Great coaching under Jim and the team may make him a really fantastic signing. Could be another Bruce. Reminds me of Bruce. Welcome to Saints Cam!
Intrigued by the 10 speculation. Personally I would welcome a game breaking and potentially expensive 10 that may ensure the team really goes pelting forward. Arguably we may need this to really break through the rugby "glass ceiling".
Seems their salary cap rules was also a factor. Amazing number of people wishing him well and looking to follow his/our progress next season.
What a great sport we champion eh?
1.A person who approves of and encourages someone or something (typically a public figure, a movement or party, or a policy).
2.A person who is actively interested in and wishes success for a particular sports team.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment.
We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals.
We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards.
If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing