Simmons reaping rewards of 2016 battles

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies lock Rob Simmons  is finally starting to feel the benefits of a rollercoaster season, as the forwards prepare to take a stand against England.

Simmons, who had made himself the first-choice lock in recent years, has been in and out of the Wallabies team this year, admitting he was a ‘fair way off’ where he needed to be at the beginning.

Rob Simmons says Michael Cheika is always intense at training. Photo: Getty ImagesThe past five weeks, Simmons feels he’s made the biggest strides of all and a knee injury to rookie Adam Coleman opened the door for the 27-year-old to return to the calling duties as well.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been pleased with Simmons’ improvements and the Reds second rower feels like he’s finally delivering on the edict his national mentor set down.

“It has been good, I think this tour in particular I’ve come a long way,” Simmons said.

“I’m working on those things at training and trying to impress and make myself a better player as well as moving forward in the lineout and scrum stuff.

“It’s been enjoyable personally to be doing a couple of things a bit better, I was a fair way off at the start [of the year].”

Simmons said he had enjoyed taking up the calling duties once again, stepping in for Coleman, adapting to the new way of doing things.

“I’ve actually enjoyed it, it’s been a big change from the start of this year to where it is now,” he said,.

“But for me personally it’s been a big change, a new system that I had to get used to, and it took me a little bit to break some habits that I was used to doing and now coming into this one I’ve enjoyed it.

“It’s a change up and it’s probably made us all better players.

Simmons’ new found aggression is timely, coming up against an England side that outmuscled the Wallabies in June, something he is keen to change this weekend.

“It’s been a focus of the forwards this whole tour, but the whole year it’s something we’ve been trying to raise the bar in is the physicality, especially for the tight five,”Rob Simmons

“It’s an area the tight five need to own and the team runs off the back of that.

“If we can set up a platform, especially for the ball players off nice front-foot ball it makes it a lot easier for the rest of the team.”

Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Saturday, kicking off at 1:30am AEDT Sunday, LIVE on SBS and beIn Sport (Foxtel 515).