Second rowers out to prove a point in Super Rugby AU

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs captain Rob Simmons says Australia's second rowers have a chance to prove critics wrong in Super Rugby AU after renewed speculation about tweaks to the Giteau Law.

Reports this week suggested that Wallabies coach Dave Rennie would have the latitude to pick one or two players from overseas for Test sides in the wake of an exodus of locks, especially.

Of last year's Wallabies World Cup locks only Simmons remains in Australia - Rory Arnold and Adam Coleman moved overseas after the World Cup and Izack Rodda walked away from his Reds deal in May and has since signed a deal in France.

Will Skelton is a name often brought up at national level but is another ineligible under the current laws after moving from English side Saracens to French team La Rochelle.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto is playing second row for the Reds, with Harry Hockings departing along with Rodda, but was a blindside in the Test group in recent seasons.

The departure of those second rowers has led to growing concerns about a lack of depth in the department when it comes to picking a Wallabies side.

Simmons is the most experienced lock in Super Rugby AU, having notched his 100th Test last year.

The 30-year-old said the void in established second rowers was a chance for the next generation to show they are up to the challenge.

"I think I've seen it in multiple positions over the time," he said.

"It's when you have a lot of new guys who are untested in the arena, I think that's where that comment's coming from.

"I think it's a great opportunity for some young guys to really stand up and in a way prove that comment wrong, not proving any individual wrong, but prove that comment wrong.

"The beauty of the movement of players is you get to discover other players and someone comes out of the woodwork.

"I remember when I was young around the time George Gregan retired all of a sudden we had no halfbacks but I don't think I've ever seen the Wallabies with a bad halfback so I think there's going to be someone that's going to come and really put their mark on that jersey.

"Around the world, Australia has a lot of good locks."

Simmons has played his entire career in Australia, first with the Reds and then with the Waratahs, and said staying home was still the best way to entrench yourself in a Wallabies outfit.

"I still place a lot of importance on the Wallaby jersey, it's the pinnacle," he said.

"Playing for your country is the pinnacle of your game so to put yourself in the best position to do that I believe is to stay in Australia and do that.

"It's one, hard to be seen overseas but even if you're being seen, it's a different competition, you're not getting as much contact with the actual team until you land back here and it takes a very special player to be able to do it from afar."

The Waratahs take on the Force at the SCG on Saturday July 11, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy a Kayo subscription here.