'They have allowed me to be me': What an ecstatic Sam Simmonds had to say in the wake of his Premiership try-scoring record
Sam Simmonds lit up the Gallagher Premiership on Tuesday night in London, the 2021 Lions squad pick pouncing for an Exeter try hat-trick which propelled him into the all-time English rugby record books. The Chiefs No8 came into the game one try behind the 23-year-old record of 17 top-flight tries in a single season set by Richmond’s Dominic Chapman in 1997/98, a tally equalled by Christian Wade of Wasps in the 2016/17 season.
He joined the pair on 17 tries just seven minutes into the action at Brentford, broke the record on 24 minutes with his second try and then pushed the new mark out to 19 tries with his third score of the night nine minutes from time.
The last try also brought up the 50-tries-scored mark in his career total of 66 Premiership appearances for Exeter and Simmonds was in an ecstatic mood when interviewed shortly after the full-time whistle by BT Sport. Asked about setting a new Premiership try-scoring milestone, Simmonds said: “It meant a lot. As a team, we are striving for greatness and we’re striving to win the competition.
“I don’t know if you saw it on the pitch but the boys want me to score, they want me to get the record and they were putting me on the ball in those positions. Credit to those boys as well for helping me get this far in my career. It’s amazing.
“I’m very grateful. I turned up at Exeter at 18 not really know what position I wanted to play, about 85 kilos, some people probably still think I am about 85 kilos now. They have allowed me to be me and score tries and excel as a player and I can’t give just the club the credit, it’s not just the coaches but the players. The players do so much for me and everyone in the squad, I’m just so thankful to be a part of this team.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 18, 2021
With a limited number of fans allowed in to watch the game following the lifting of the pandemic restrictions, the Exeter back-rower was serenaded by the chant of “Simmo is a Lion” from the Exeter fans in the London ground. “Sounds good,” he said about the Lions reference. “It’s all very surreal, still very surreal. It was never anything that I had dreamt of in my career.
“I wanted to play for Exeter, I wanted to play for Exeter in the Premiership. I wanted to play one time and that was it. I am lucky enough to have played a lot for Exeter over the last four or five years, I’m lucky enough to play for England back in 2017/18 and now I’m really looking forward to the summer.”
Switching to Exeter’s improved Premiership form since their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final loss to Leinster last month, Simmonds expressed high hopes of a London return next month for the Twickenham title decider.
“When you look at our results the last four have been really dominant performances. We are getting back to kind of where people would have thought we were last season. I feel like we are timing it right, we are timing it at the business end of the season.
“We have got a lot of players back whether it is from injury, international duty and yeah, we’re pretty confident, we’re pretty happy with where we are now. We know the pressure was on us because we did drop down to third and we want to cement that home semi-final spot. We’re very happy with the result.”
'I can definitely see it in some of his performances at Cornish Pirates because we were getting all the videos and in the Championship he had a point of difference in pace and power.'
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 16, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now