Sam Simmonds has revealed that England head coach Eddie Jones messaged him to congratulate him on being selected for the British and Irish Lions.
Exeter Chiefs number eight Simmonds hasn’t played for England since 2018, and wasn’t even included in his Jones’ 28-man squad for this year’s Six Nations Championship.
Jones has opted against including Simmonds in any of his squads in recent years, but the newly-minted Lions told the Daily Mail that the England head coach has been in contact with him more regularly in recent times.
A hat-trick last night saw Sam move to 19 for the season. He has been unstoppable!
Sum him up in a GIF below 👇#LionsRugby
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 19, 2021
‘It’ll be great to right some of the wrongs.’
“He sent me a text to say, ‘Well done’. Over the past few months, there has been more chat with the England set-up and that gives you some confidence,” Simmonds revealed.
“I was always hopeful that if I wasn’t selected by the Lions then I’d be involved on the England summer tour.
“I was gutted not to be involved in the Six Nations but the positive is that my form has been good for Exeter and I’ve been playing in a winning team, which gave me the best possible opportunity to be picked for the Lions.
“It’ll be great to right some of the wrongs of when I played international rugby in the past. I’m more mature and more physical now. I know how to train.”
Sam Simmonds: ‘I still want to play for England.’
Simmonds broke the record for the most tries scored by any player in one Gallagher premiership season in Exeter’s recent game against London Irish, as he scored a hat-trick to bring his tally up to 19.
The 26-year-old has only played seven times for his country so far, having last played for England against Ireland in the 2018 Six Nations.
While Simmonds has had to get used to being excluded from England squads since then, the Exeter forward is aiming to play a role in is country’s autumn internationals, after he returns home from South Africa.
Sam Simmonds = Record Breaker! 🥇
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 18, 2021
“I still want to play for England and be in contention for selection in the autumn,” Simmonds said.
“I’ve not been getting selected for England and I’ve made peace with that, but I still want to be a part of a successful England team.
“I want to get back to playing for England. I feel like I could have a role to play in the England side and hopefully I can prove that in the summer.”