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Joe Simmonds to become the latest big name to quit Exeter - report

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Double-winning skipper Joe Simmonds is poised to become the latest big name to exit Exeter at the end of the current season. Media reports in France claim that the out-half has struck a deal to join Pau next season as a replacement for the Stade Francais-bound Zack Henry. The suggested move would see Simmonds come up against his older brother Sam, the Exeter back-rower whose deal to switch to Montpellier was sealed last September.

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French website rugbyrama.fr reported: “Pau have struck a blow on the transfer market. According to our information, the Bearn club have obtained the agreement of English No10 Joe Simmonds for next season.

“The 26-year-old, who has been playing for Exeter since his professional debut in 2016, is recognised as one of the best out-halves in the English Premiership. Even if he has never been selected by England, Simmonds has solid experience and a good track record.

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“He has 166 games with Exeter, whom he became captain of in 2020 when he was only 23 years old. Suffice to say, Joe Simmonds will be a huge added value for Pau.

“He has the advantage of still being young to integrate perfectly into the Bearn club project led by Sebastien Piqueronies while bringing his experience (32 Champions Cup matches) and his qualities as a leader. He is currently the fourth-best scorer in the English league with 93 points, just behind Owen Farrell (98 points).”

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Having endured issues last term with form and selection, Simmonds has been a starter in 13 of his 16 Exeter appearances this season and the revelation that he has apparently been snapped up by Pau emerged in the same week that the English club confirmed the loss of long-serving back-rower Dave Ewers to Ulster.

Luke Cowan-Dickie is another who is definitely leaving Exeter, as he has signed for Montpellier, while the expectation is that Jack Nowell will also exit Sandy Park.

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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 9 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. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock 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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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma
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