The clamour to see Sam Simmonds once again involved with England has reached new heights this weekend after another below-par performance from Eddie Jones’ men in white.
Despite coming in as favourites, England fell to a record 40 – 24 defeat to Wayne Pivac’s Wales in a Six Nations match that delivered with thrills, spills and questionable refereeing decisions.
While Billy Vunipola, Tom Curry and Mark Wilson put in good shifts, they were outshone by their Welsh counterparts; with Josh Navidi, Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric shading their unit battle.
The conversation inevitably led back to maybe England’s most egregious omission – Exeter Chiefs back row Sam Simmonds. Simmonds scored again this weekend and has been in remarkable form for the reigning Gallagher Premiership champions.
Now Simmonds has received a heavyweight endorsement from one of the best back rows of the professional era, All Black flanker Jerome Kaino. Kaino took to Twitter to surmise: “I’m never one to critique coaches selections but in my opinion Sam Simmonds should be in the England mix, most consistent loosie in Europe the last 2 years.”
I’m never one to critique coaches selections but imo @samsimmonds_ should be in that ??????? mix , most consistent loosie in Europe the last 2 years
— Jerome Kaino (@jeromekaino) February 28, 2021
The tweet has received well over 1,000 likes. Among those that were in agreement with the
83 cap New Zealander, who is now plying his trade in France with Toulouse, was former England and Exeter Chiefs back row Thomas Waldrom.
“I’m glad you can see that too mate. He definitely needs to be in the mix. Taught him a few tricks but he had got a whole bag full,” Tweeted Waldrom, Simmonds’ former teammate.
I’m glad you can see that too mate. He definitely needs to be in the mix. Taught him a few tricks but he had got a whole bag full.
— Thomas waldrom (@Toottankwaldrom) February 28, 2021
Former England flyhalf Andy Goode, who has been one of the main drivers of the Sam Simmonds bandwagon in recent months, simply tweeted: “Sam Simmonds……”. Everyone knew what he was talking about.
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) February 27, 2021
Writing in his RugbyPass column recently, Goode said he feels that the non-selection of the inform Chief now feels personal, writing “the continuing omission of Sam Simmonds by England boss Eddie Jones is starting to feel like it’s personal.
“One thing is for sure, there is nothing more the European player of the year can do to impress the England head coach after scoring eleven tries in nine Premiership games from No.8 since the start of this season.
“It feels like stubbornness is preventing Jones from picking him at the moment because there has been much clamour for him to do so in the media and perhaps it would feel like an admission that he was wrong. That is just cutting off your nose to spite your face though and, while it is absolutely his prerogative to pick who he sees fit, I hope it isn’t the case that he is overlooking such a talent for that reason.”
While Jones has remained resolute on selection pressure from the press and public in the past (think Cipriani and Alex Goode), Simmonds could be one of the first players force his way back into an England side lacking in attacking creativity.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now