Shepherd sues Northampton over cancelled contract
Former Wallabies utility back Cameron Shepherd is taking legal action against English rugby club Northampton Saints after it terminated his contract for medical reasons.
Shepherd, who has since signed with rival English club Sale Sharks, was due to join the Saints on a three-year deal this month after seven seasons with Super rugby team the Western Force.
Northampton later cancelled the contract just days before Shepherd was due to join the club on grounds that he failed a medical due to the condition of his left ankle.
Shepherd’s Australian-based agent Nick Fordham said in a statement Thursday he was “appalled at the behaviour of Northampton in respect of the manner in which his client and family were treated.”
“Expert medical reports from leading independent orthopedic surgeons and Cameron’s former club doctors at the Western Force have concluded that there is nothing wrong with Cameron’s ankle,” he said.
“Having subsequently passed a medical and signed with the Sale Sharks proves there are huge holes all through Northampton’s action and position”.
Fordham said Shepherd was only advised by Northampton of the medical results three days before his departure for the England - and a month after he undertook the medical.
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder last week defended the club’s decision to withdraw Shepherd’s contract.
“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,” Mallinder said.
Shepherd has been troubled by groin and wrist injuries and played just two games for the Force in 2012.
He made his Super rugby debut with the Waratahs in 2004 and played nine tests for Australia between 2006 and 2010.