Simmons keen to stay home
REDS veteran Rob Simmons will knock back feelers from clubs in England and Japan if he can find another home in Australia to keep alive his Wallabies dream.
Tomorrow night is the farewell to Suncorp Stadium that the loyal one- club player never wanted to have against the Brumbies.
The Reds’ tough call a month ago to cut the nine- season fixture has created this sign- off and he will at least be honoured in style as a starter.
Oddly, it will not be at lock but as a fill- in blindside flanker because Hendrik Tui ( ribs and shoulder), Scott Higginbotham ( neck) and Leroy Houston ( back) are all grounded.
“I was always going to include Simmo in this match squad because I thought it really important to acknowledge his contribution over a long period,” Reds coach Nick Stiles said.
Simmons has had a month to grapple with the pain of the abrupt cut by the Reds when he wanted to continue his 112- game career. “It hurt,” Simmons said. “What comes next ( with a club) is a bit unknown but I’m still motivated to get back into a gold jersey.
“There’s interest from Japan, England, everywhere basically but there are a lot of unknowns out there ( with one Super Rugby club to be chopped).
“A few decisions need to be made so other people can make a few decisions.”
It is hard not to weigh Simmons’ determination to stay in Australian rugby, at 28, with centre Campbell Magnay’s impatient jump to Japanese rugby with Suntory at just 20.
Magnay is eager to rejoin the Reds in February after his off- season fling beside George Smith and Matt Giteau but there are perils.
Chris Feauai- Sautia, Tui and 2015 recruit Adam Thomson have all arrived from Japan injured after stints in recent seasons.
Magnay could be a big, physical and pacy star of Australian rugby but he’s played just three times in 15 games when a starter’s jersey was his all season if he’d been free of injury.
Stiles is backing him at outside centre tomorrow night in place of the injured Samu Kerevi.
“To be honest I don’t feel we’ve got reward out of him yet on field with all the hard work put in to get his body right,” Stiles said.
The coach did not try to hide his bemusement at Magnay’s call. “It’s the sushi,” Stiles said. “It’s unfortunate but you’re seeing it more and more because that’s the fluid nature of rugby today with young guys like Seany McMahon and Liam Gill as well.
“You don’t want to see a footballer with as much talent as he has heading overseas at that age.”