Former Red makes switch to Super Rugby rivals
DUMPED Queensland Reds second-rower Rob Simmons is staying in Australian rugby after arch-rivals the NSW Waratahs confirmed on Thursday that the experienced Wallaby had put pen to paper.
The two-year deal will mean Simmons remains in Australia until at least the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Despite being a regular for the Wallabies, Simmons' contract was not renewed by the Reds, who instead have placed their trust in up-and-coming second-rowers Izack Rodda, who made his Test debut off the bench against the All Blacks in Bledisloe II, and Lukhan Tui.
But Simmons showed in his most recent outing for the Wallabies that he still has plenty to offer Australian rugby, delivering his most robust performance in gold since the 2015 World Cup during last Saturday's heartbreaking 35-29 loss against the All Blacks.
"I'm really looking forward to joining the lads in Sydney, they have a great team with a balance of experience and some very good young players and some big goals to achieve in Super Rugby,” said Simmons, who played 114 Super Rugby matches for the Reds.
"Queensland has been great to me but I'm looking forward to doing whatever I can to take the Tahs to where they want to be.
"Hopefully I can add some experience to the side and we can push for finals next year.
"I definitely wanted to stay in Australian rugby.
"I love playing for the Wallabies and hopefully I'll have another chance to pull on the gold jersey next weekend against South Africa.”
The Waratahs have been on the hunt for a new lock-forward for some time now after the departures of Test forwards Dean Mumm (retirement) and Will Skelton (Saracens) left them short in second-row depth.
"What stood out was that even with 73 Test caps to his credit, Rob is still hungry to play at the highest possible level and his determination to get there will drive our whole pack forward,” Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said.
"Our younger locks like Ryan McCauley and Tom Staniforth will benefit from having Rob working with them and teaching them from his years of experience as a Test player.
"We're still a young team and what Rob will bring is that edge that comes from his 100-plus Super Rugby caps and his vast Test experience.
"Rob adds a great dimension to our lineout and a real strength in our scrums.”
Simmons will start training with the Waratahs at the completion of his Test commitments.