Northampton Saints today announced that Cameron Shepherd will not now be joining the club.
The 28-year-old Australian had been due to arrive at the Saints in August, having signed a contract several months ago. As is standard practice throughout professional sport the contract was signed subject to a number of conditions, and, on the recommendation of its medical team, the Club has decided not to bring Shepherd to Franklin’s Gardens.
"Obviously it is important to believe we will get the most out of our squad throughout the season,” said director of rugby Jim Mallinder. “With a minimum of 32 games in Aviva Premiership Rugby, the Heineken Cup and LV= Cup, our campaign is the most demanding in the world. We obviously monitored Cameron's condition between signing his contract and his scheduled arrival and after great consideration felt that on balance we needed more certainty about his ability to handle the tough demands of our long season for the duration of his three-year contract.
“We know Cameron has ability and are confident that he will be with another club soon. But while we are disappointed that Cameron will not be joining us we are nevertheless very confident in the ability of our squad to compete in every competition this coming season.
“We have welcomed some exciting players like Ken Pisi, Dom Waldouck, GJ Van Velze and Luther Burrell to Franklin's Gardens who can offer a great deal in a number of positions. They have settled in well, bonded with the rest of the squad and worked very hard in pre-season training and we are all looking forward to the start of the season.”
Northampton Saints does not wish to comment further on the matter.
I really think this reflects badly on the club, I know if I were in his position i'd be none too happy. And also the club wants to look at who is party to confidential information in that a couple of weeks back someone was able to relay this very news on this site it is rumoured before the player was informed himself.
Now i'm sure one of those that thinks the club can do no wrong will tell me off!
This is positively my last comment on this topic. If there's one thing that perhaps the club should learn from this, and some previous similar events, is that they should not announce any signings until AFTER a medical has been passed. That scenario would be helped if they arranged their own medical examinations as soon as the contract is ready for but before signing even if that entails expensive trips to or from the UK for that purpose.
Joe, The Saints did announce Shepherd's signing but really never said when he was arriving.
I don't think Wilson is a direct replacement, I noticed recently someone asked him how long he was at Northampton for and the reply was just a year. Now that can be extended but its some way off the 3 years Shepherd was on. Plus the original timings of the announcements by saints of Shepherd and the french article saying we had signed Wilson don't really add up to that argument.
It certainly looks like we will have our options open to us and we also have a pocket full of cash available if required too.
I can add a bit to this thread as I know his brother through work and when I asked him if he would sponsor me for tomorrows SWHX he told me the news. Pretty definite that he will be joining us - house hunting already.
Then his tweets from 6th May stating he would be arriving here end Aug
Then 3 weeks later the club announcement
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
"I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel."
I think the point there is that what we see and what we know outside the club and the players in general.
We only see a snippet of the lives and just because one person said something outside of that doesn't mean thats when it's happening.
There is and has been too much said about this subject and what probably started out as a simple question was probably executed badly as I know when I read a topic suggesting that the shepherd should decide if he is coming or going was a little bit out of sorts. It's fine to be curious but I thought thew whole debate had gone beyond curious and bordered on personal for not being told. Add several opinions to that and you almost get a mini warfare or words and confusement.
As it turned out the contract was signed with conditions, one of them clearly being subject to final medical (probably something that has in line with the current injury the player had). There would have been a medical done in Australia by some means but it's not done by the Saints Medical staff whom have to become responsible for the players wellbeing and it appears that after seeing the player in person either before or after the 1st August that they was not completely satisfied with the findings and the club then invoked the said clause in the contract. All parties would have been made aware of this and known that this could have been a potential outcome.
The only lapse in communication may have been from the club was to announce at point of announcement the player was subject to a final medical (something that is common in Football so not something that has to be kept secret, the outcome is different). Had this been done then maybe some peoples minds might of been a little more at ease.
The delay after that probably as some have said, lawyers and contract talsk need to be worked through and dealt with properly.
To be honest though, it's not even the first game of the season yet and it was reacted to like we was playing a match this coming weekend and the player was needed.
The two major parts of this failed signing that concern me are;
1. We have made the same/similar mistake that was with Balan and Van Niekirk - signing announced before player completing a full medical. Why couldn't we get medical and performance conditioning staff to a suitable facility in AUS or fly the player in - he wasn't playing in the build up to the signing announcement.
2. The time that goes by - certainly for 1 or 2 months maybe we thought his squad position was covered and so may have missed out on a suitable replacement in the interim who has either joined another club or re-signed at his present team.
I believe we are not short of numbers in the back three, however I believe we are currently short of quality!!
These are supporters concerns Buck not necessarily the coaching staff, sounds to me he had a number of fitness goals to hit prior to starting and he hasn't satisfied one, some or all of these. If you had made the call in May he wasn't fit so wouldn't have signed him, but they have given him a decent chance to prove fitness ahead of teh current season.
On your second point i doubt given the fitness conditions he was seen as a nailed on signing by the coaching staff and would have planned around this.
Agree with David T, we only get a small piece of the jigsaw and make up the rest with speculation. Shame for everyone concerned but right decision has been made IMO.
Once more this site is making conclusive judgements without knowing the facts. Heresay plus possible plus maybe do not add up to definite. We do not know anything about detail of contract, prior medical checks, post medical checks, criteria to be met, family upheaval or impact on player. It is just speculation and as such just as damaging as the original situation. Fact - player signing announced. Fact - Club decides not bringing player announced.
It is not good to criticise the club, our club, when we know next to nothing.
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