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'I love scoring tries' - Sam Simmonds breaks one try scoring record but he's still chasing 23-year-old milestone

By PA
Sam Simmonds /Getty

Exeter forwards coach Rob Hunter was full of praise for number eight Sam Simmonds after his brace saw him break the record for tries scored in a Premiership season by a forward.

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Sam Simmonds took his tally for this campaign to 16 as Exeter were convincing 41-10 comeback winners over Worcester at a blustery and rain-sodden Sandy Park.

Henry Slade, Dave Ewers, Stu Townsend and Jacques Vermeulen also scored tries for Exeter with Joe Simmonds kicking a penalty and four conversions as Chiefs moved back into second place in the Gallagher Premiership table.

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Jim, Andy, Fez and Shanks react to the 2021 Lions squad:

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Jim, Andy, Fez and Shanks react to the 2021 Lions squad:

Francois Venter scored Worcester’s try with Jamie Shillcock adding a penalty and a conversion.

Hunter said: “It’s a fantastic testament to the way Sam works and it’s a special achievement for any player.

“With 45 mile-per-hour winds and rain forecast we would have taken a bonus-point victory as it is important that we control our own destiny.

“We were pretty calm at half-time (trailing 10-8) as we knew we had to keep it simple and keep our discipline for if we got close to their line we knew the scores would come.”

Breaking the try-scoring record capped a terrific week for Sam Simmonds, who on Thursday celebrated his call-up for the British and Irish Lions.

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He said: “I love scoring tries and I’ve got four regular games to go to try and score the two tries to break the Premiership record for any player.

“It helps when players like Dave Ewers and Franny (Tomas Francis) keep forcing me over.

“It was a tough first half in those conditions but it was about staying in the game so we were happy to go in at half-time only two points down.

“We played in the right areas in the second half and we just knew we had to stick to our jobs.”

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The only blot on Exeter’s day was a further injury to wing Jack Nowell, who limped off midway through the second half.

Hunter said: “I’m not sure yet what the problem is but Jack has had a horrible run of injuries with a number of knock-backs in terms of rehab but he’s a very professional guy so he will work through it.”

Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas believed the final score was harsh on his battling Warriors.

He said: “In the first half, we played the conditions really well but didn’t capitalise as I thought we had the better set-piece.

“We were disappointed to concede the eight points before the interval – their try was a breakaway one and the penalty came at the scrum after Fin (Smith) had kicked the ball dead.

“Discipline killed us in the second half, you can’t afford to concede 13 or 14 penalties in a match, but the scoreline doesn’t reflect the effort we put in although I’m disappointed at the way we fell away.”

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Jon 3 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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f
finn 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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