Simmons keen to stay home

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JIM TUCKER

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.”

FI­NALE: Queen­land Reds for­ward Rob Simmons will play his farewell game for the club at Sun­corp Sta­dium to­mor­row night.

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