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Wallaby Rob Simmons the latest to exit English rugby

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

London Irish and the Gallagher Premiership will be losing one another storied international star, as Rob Simmons, the Wallabies lock, is set to join Clermont in France.

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Simmons joins on a two-year deal from London Irish as the exodus of top-line players from English rugby continues.

The announcement was made by the French club on Monday, and Simmons will be joined by Chris Gabriel, the New Zealand second row who currently plays for Toyota Industries Shuttles in Japan.

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Simmons will be an important addition to the Clermont squad, as the head coach, Christophe Urios, has been looking to strengthen the pack. Clermont have already signed Marcos Kremer, Pita Gus Sowakula, Faolau Fainga’a, and Mohamed Haouas, but today the focus was very much on the second row. Simmons’ arrival will be a major boost to the team’s ambitions of winning the Top 14 and the European Champions Cup.

Simmons, who has 106 caps for the Australian national team, has been playing for London Irish since 2020, after a successful stint with the Waratahs in Super Rugby.

The 33-year-old lock had been a regular feature in the Wallabies squad since his debut in 2010. Indeed, the 6’8, 115kg Wallabies centurion boasts an impressive international career that includes outings at the 2011, 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups. His 2011 call-up to the Rugby World Cup was much credited to his efforts in the Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby winning squad. He made over 150 combined appearances in Super Rugby for the Reds and the Waratahs while in Australian rugby.

Unlikely to have any further involvement in Test rugby, Clermont’s new signing will add significant experience and leadership to the team. Simmons has played at the highest level of rugby for over a decade and has proven himself to be a reliable and consistent performer. His physicality and lineout skills will also be an asset to the French club.

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