Shepherd?s new flock
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
UNTIL two weeks ago, full-back Cameron Shepherd was looking forward to his move to Perth to join the new Super 14 team franchise, Western Force.
That was until a phone call came from Wallaby coach Eddie Jones.
Shepherd was one of a number of young players selected in the Wallabies squad for their spring tour of Europe.
"I was due to move to Perth but selection for the tour has stopped those plans," he said yesterday in between training sessions at Pacific Bay Resort.
"I'm dying to get over to Perth as I'm really looking forward to playing with the Force but now I'm looking forward to an amazing experience in Europe."
Playing with the NSW Waratahs for the past two years, Shepherd found his opportunities limited this season as the form of teammates Mat Rogers, Peter Hewat and Lote Tuquiri carried the team to the Super 12 final.
Shepherd bided his time knowing that a chance to impress would come and he grabbed it with both hands when he was Australia's leading points scorier in this year's Under 21 World Championship in Argentina.
"From the first game of the Super 12 season this year I knew it was going to be tough as there so many talented outside backs in the NSW team," the 21 year-old said.
"It was a matter of taking an opportunity when it came and luckily with the under 21s, I took the chance and played well."
As a first time Wallaby, this week's camp has been the first time that Shepherd has been able to enjoy the Coffs Harbour experience and he admits that it has been beyond his expectations.
"It's been a great trip up here and I've enjoyed every minute of it," he said.
"I'd been told that it was good here but I didn't know that it was this good.
"Everything has been catered for here with the facilities, right down to the spas and the field is one of the best in Australia."
As one of the younger members of the squad, Shepherd has used this week's camp as a huge learning curve and he intends to do the same as the Wallabies embark on their four-Test tour.
"I'm just looking forward to spending time with the more experienced players in the squad so that I can learn as much as I can.
"I'm using it as a way to build my game and build my attributes so that it can help set me up for the Super 14 competition."