Simmons still has place in Australian Rugby: Cheika

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rob Simmons isn’t in Melbourne with the Wallabies and has no Super Rugby home for 2018, but Test coach Michael Cheika says a ‘smart’ club would pick him up immediately.

Queensland announced on Tuesday that they would not be re-signing Simmons for the 2018 season, as they look to the future with youngsters Lukhan Tui and Izack Rodda.

Cheika said he hoped Simmons, 28, would be able to find a home in Australian Super Rugby, amid reports that the ARU had him in their plans when it came to national contracting.

“I’m a big fan of Simmons and I know that sounds a bit silly because he’s not here (in Wallabies camp),” he said.

“I don’t even know how old he is - maybe 28 or something like that - so that’s a guy who’s at the peak of his powers right now and can improve so much.

“I’m banking on the fact that one of our Australian teams is going to be smart enough to see the quality in this guy and pick him up straight away,” he said.

Rob Simmons is the leader of the Wallabies locks. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyThere could be some openings among teams ,with the Waratahs farewelling Dean Mumm and Will Skelton at the end of this season, while the Rebels would have looked an option, though they recently signed high-profile English second rower Geoff Parling.

Simmons, with 71 Tests to his name, would be eligible to play overseas and still be available for the Wallabies, but with the move still very fresh and some uncertainty around Super Rugby in 2018, it is not clear what his next location will be.

When Cheika made the call to leave Simmons out of the June Test squad, he said he wanted to see aggression on a more regular basis from the Wallabies veteran.

“He could be one of the best locks going around when he brings that type of impact and aggression to the game that I know he can do, when he gets angry.

“He’s brought it inconsistently, and he’s mature enough now to bring it consistently.”

Sam Carter has been recalled to the Wallabies' starting team. Photo: WalmsleyAdam Coleman and Sam Carter will start in the second row for the Wallabies on Saturday against Fiji, picking the Brumbies co-captain over his Super Rugby teammate Rory Arnold.

“(That’s about) just probably the complementary nature of what Carter and Coleman will bring together,” he said.

“They’re probably two very different types of locks and I know that you’d have to envisage that Rory’s going to be there or thereabouts in the finishers, so, he’ll do that job for either Adam or Sam in the back part of the game.

“I think the complementary nature of Carter and Coleman, different types of players was what sold us on that combo.”

The Wallabies take on Fiji at AAMI Park Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.