Chris Robshaw has backed Sam Simmonds to start for the British and Irish Lions against South Africa this summer.
The former England captain was speaking to RugbyPass about who he believes should start for the Lions against the Springboks, and selected seven of his countrymen in his team.
While the inclusion of so many English players may raise a few eyebrows after the disappointing Six Nations campaign Eddie Jones’ side endured, the selection of international outcast Simmonds is perhaps his bravest call.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 9, 2021
Simmonds has been in outstanding form for Exeter over the last number of years, but hasn’t been able to work his way back into Jones’ England team, who he last played for in 2018.
Despite his lack of test rugby, Robshaw explained that he believes that the terrain in South Africa will suit Simmonds’ style of play, as the hard pitches will allow the Exeter man to show off his speed.
“This is where I’m going to bring in Sam Simmonds. On a hard pitch down in South Africa, now we know they’re going there. That’ll suit him,” Robshaw said.
Elsewhere, Robshaw’s team is very similar to the side that played against New Zealand in the third test back in 2017, with eight of the players who started in the last Lions match against the All Blacks selected.
The most notable exceptions are in the half-backs, where Robshaw has opted to start international newcomer Kieran Hardy at scrum-half, while Scottish maverick Finn Russell has been named at fly-half.
Check out the full team below.
1. Joe Marler (England)
2. Jamie George (England)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
6. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
7. Tom Curry (England)
8. Sam Simmonds (England)
9. Kieran Hardy (Wales)
10. Finn Russell (Scotland)
11. Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)
12. Owen Farrell (England)
13. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
14. Anthony Watson (England)
15. Liam Williams (Wales)