Business as usual for Simmons at Reds helm

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by Adam Freier

Things won’t change too much with Rob Simmons at the helm of the Reds, the interim captain says.

Simmons will captain the Reds in the absence of James Slipper, as the latter recovers from surgery, expecting to return in April.

The Wallabies lock said outside of match day it would pretty much be business as usual for the pair.

“We’re best mates so we bounce almost every idea off each other,” he said.

“We’ve been together for a long time now in various roles and helped each other out,”.

As for his own approach to leadership, Simmons said he would just be taking it as it comes.

“I just want to help out wherever I can and get this team on the right track and go down a successful path,” he said.

“I try to lead by example and help out the rest of the squad where I can.

”We’re in a big growing phase with a lot of young guys looking to get a bit of experience.

“I want to try and help and nurture those guys coming through.”

Slipper is on track to return in April and on Monday maintained the view that he wouldn’t be rushing his recovery.

“I’m taking it step by step,” he said.

“I don’t want to come back to early and stuff it up again.

“I want to train hard, work hard and come back at 100 per cent.”

Reds head coach Richard Graham said he expected Simmons to slot into the leadership role easily.

“Leadership is about influence and he’s been influencing the group here for a number of years,” he said.

“He’s still got a very core responsibility with the lineout.

“I think that was evident in the World Cup when he played that Wallabies line-out functioned and when he didn’t at times it struggled.”

Slipper and lock Kane Douglas (ACL) remain the Reds’ two biggest injury concerns as the Super Rugby season nears.

The Reds play their first trial against the Crusaders on February 6 at Ballymore.