Fit-again Shepherd eyes Wallabies return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fit-again Shepherd eyes Wallabies return

By Justin Chadwick 19/10/2009 08:32:18 PM Comments (0)

Luckless Wallaby Cameron Shepherd is praying his horror injury run is finally over as he prepares to mount a bid for a national recall in time for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Shepherd has been grounded on and off since suffering an horrific broken ankle while playing for the Wallabies against France in July last year.

The 25-year-old has made several short and ultimately unsuccessful comebacks but believes his latest round of surgery, performed three months ago, has finally addressed all issues related to the troublesome tendons in his ankle.

Shepherd resumed running at the start of Western Force pre-season training on Monday and expects to join full training by early next month.

And with the World Cup less than two years away, Shepherd hopes a standout Super 14 season will catapult him back into the national set-up.

"I want to play for the Wallabies. (It's a) huge goal," Shepherd said.

"That's why I play the game.

"I know if I'm fit and healthy that I'm good enough to be back there.

"But Super 14 first.

"I know we can have a great year and if I have a good year individually I definitely want to be in that Wallabies squad and work towards the World Cup."

With national coach Robbie Deans still experimenting with his fledgling outfit, Shepherd has his eyes firmly on regaining the No.15 jersey, but acknowledges he may not even play there for the Force.

"I guess that (where I slot in) depends on where James O'Connor plays," he said with a smile.

"I want to play fullback for the Wallabies, that's where I'm pushing to.

"If I don't get selected there (for the Force) I'm still more than happy to play on a wing."

Shepherd admitted there were times during his lengthy rehabilitation period when he doubted whether he could return to the level earned him nine Test caps for Australia.

"But I got through it and I'm really motivated and excited to get back into it.

"I'm quite sick of talking about it after 16 months but I'm happy to say it's really good.

"The last surgery was pretty large in the scheme of things but we think we've sorted a lot of things out."

While the Wallabies managed just one win during this year's Tri-Nations series, Shepherd was confident the side would be a formidable unit by 2011.

"I think we've got to remember it's a young side," he said.

"By the time the World Cup comes around, these young guys that are just starting off now will be pretty experienced and we are going to have another very competitive side."

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