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French club could be set to reunite Simmonds brothers

By Neil Fissler
Sam Simmonds (L) of Exeter Chiefs looks on with his brother Joe Simmonds during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Worcester Warriors and Exeter Chiefs at Sixways Stadium on January 30, 2021 in Worcester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

A family reunion for former England and Lions back-row Sam Simmonds and his younger brother Joe at Pau could be on the cards if next month Montpellier lose their bid to stay in the Top 14.

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Torquay-born Simmonds, 29, has scored four tries in 24 appearances for Montpellier this season after the pair left Exeter Chiefs and joined the mass exodus of players leaving the Premiership for the Top 14.

He scored 83 tries in 123 games for the Chiefs, breaking the Premiership’s try-scoring record in 2021 but has found the try line a lot harder to find in a struggling Montpellier side.

Pau are interested in signing the European Player of the Year after helping Exeter to Premiership and Champions Cup double in 2020 if Mohed Altrad’s side drops through the relegation trapdoor into the second-tier Pro D2.

Montpellier, who started Simmonds at openside flanker for the second successive game, will face a play-off against the losing Pro D2 finalists following their 22-29 defeat at the hands of a weakened Toulouse.

Les Bleu et Blanc have been in steady decline since winning the Top 14 crown against Castres two years ago have lost their last six games, including against Ulster in the Challenge Cup Round of 16.

They are 11 points behind Lyon with two games left to play this season and will have to win a playoff game to retain their place in the French top flight next season.

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The Simmonds brothers, who were team-mates at Sandy Park for eight years, have found getting together much more difficult since moving to France with a four-hour drive between Pau and Montpellier.

“It just felt like the right time with him leaving as well to experience something. We are only four hours away from each other here, so it’s quite nice to visit him when I can,” Joe told RugbyPass in January.

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