Saints chief lauds dedication of returning hero Shepherd

Saints chief lauds dedication of returning hero Shepherd

Steve Murley applauded the ‘enthusiasm and knowledge’ of the returning Matt Shepherd PICTURE: PAUL WILLIAMS

By Gareth Davies

4th August

Director of rugby Steve Murley has hailed the ‘enthusiasm and knowledge’ of utility back Matt Shepherd after he returned to St Austell last week.

Shepherd re-joins the Tregorrick Park outfit for a third time and Murley has confirmed that the 31-year-old will combine his playing commitments with a coaching role of Saints’ back division, as they prepare for life back at level six.

The Voice understands that a whole host of South West clubs chased Shepherd’s signature, with Cornwall’s hero from the Bill Beaumont Cup final win over Cheshire in 2019, opting for St Austell due to the reduced amount of travelling to home matches, and away games too.

Murley also revealed that despite spending the last seven years away from St Austell, Shepherd has still kept a keen eye on progress at Tregorrick Park.

“It is a delight to be able to bring Shep back to his spiritual home,” Murley told the Voice. “Through all his time away, Shep kept in touch with things at St Austell and was always interested in what we were doing on and off the field.”

“When Shep mooted returning to St Austell, he was very keen to know the club’s aspirations and whether they matched up to his demanding standards. He is above all else, a competitor who still has much that he wants to achieve. “

“He brings an enthusiasm and knowledge of rugby that is second to none and he will be a great role model and mentor to our younger players. To paraphrase a well known saying you can take the boy out of Tregorrick, but you'll never take Tregorrick out of the boy. “

“The club now has a very strong line up of head coach Kyle Marriott, forwards coach Miles Davey and backs coach Matt Shepherd. We are all looking forward to an exciting new season that begins in September.”

Reflecting on Shepherd’s stellar, trophy-laden career to date, Murley says that his returning recruit is a ‘shining example’ to everyone involved at Tregorrick Park. “

“Shep was already a key member of the Saints first team when I first took on the role of director of rugby from club legend Richard Lamb in season 2010-11,” Murley added. “He would remain so through another promotion season and a couple of county cup finals after that. “

“His understandable desire to further his rugby education and pursue greater rugby prizes led him away from Tregorrick in 2014-15, with the blessing of all at the club. We watched with pride from afar as he became a driving influence at Launceston, Plymouth Albion and Redruth. “

“He also became a Cornish rugby legend, winning three County Championships in 2015 and 2016, while showing nerves of steel to slot the winning injury time points in a tight 2019 final. “

“Shep's exploits deservedly won him many national caps as he was selected to tour with England Counties. Shep's playing career and achievements speak for themselves, but they didn't happen by accident. His dedication to training, willingness to work outside his comfort zone to challenge himself and others, allied to his determination to make the very best of his natural ability are a shining example to all of us involved in rugby. “

“These attributes are a key example to all our players in how they can progress.”