Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Shepherd hopes he has pushed his scrum-half claims with display against Taunton

Matt ShepherdMATT SHEPHERD is hoping he has pushed his claims for Plymouth Albion’s number nine shirt after an impressive performance for the club’s development team on Tuesday evening.

The Cornwall scrum-half, who has been struggling with a knee injury in recent weeks, scored all Albion’s points in their 18-10 victory away at Taunton, with two tries, two penalties and a conversion.

Shepherd, who moved to Brickfields from Launceston in the summer, has not yet been able to secure Albion’s number nine shirt of a regular basis for various reasons. He has made just two starts at scrum-half, with Cameron Setter getting the nod for the other games.

England Counties star Shepherd began the season on the bench after missing all the club’s warm-up games due to a-once-in-a-lifetime holiday he had booked the year before. He then secured the number nine shirt for one game but then injuries to Robin Wedlake, Harrison Cully and Jon Dawe meant he was needed to play on the wing.

The 25-year-old did reclaim the scrum-half spot for the Esher match but then got injured and has started the last two league games on the bench.

“It was good to come back from injury and get a full 80 behind me,” said Shepherd after Tuesday’s match.

“Hopefully, this has put a little marker down for me.”

Shepherd was not the only player trying to push first-team claims on Tuesday night.

The likes of Rupert Freestone, Dan Pullinger, Robin Wedlake, Gregory Sebastien, Elliot Bale, Andy Chesters and David Fisher all got valuable game-time against quite a strong Taunton side.

“Everyone did what they needed to do,” said Shepherd.

“We had the target at the start of the game to get a ‘W’ and it was nice to get out there and play with a different set of boys, who don’t play or train together all the time, and still get a win at Taunton.

“Our forwards were quite dominant and when we put our mind to it we really put them under the cosh.”

Towards the end of the match Shepherd also got the chance to show what he could do from the kicking tee with two late penalties.

“I was happy they let me go for the points and let me kick,” he said.

Albion are not in action this weekend. Their next match is away at Henley on November 7.

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