Sam Simmonds again impressed for Exeter Chiefs as the international outcast put up his hand for selection for the British and Irish Lions.
Exeter proved to be too strong for Bristol Bears as they ran out as convincing 20-12 winners at Ashton Gate Stadium in the Gallagher Premiership to-two encounter.
Bristol remain in first place in the Premiership, but Exeter certainly reminded Pat Lam’s side of their capabilities ahead of the play-offs at the end of the season.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) April 23, 2021
While Simmonds wasn’t named as man of the match – that honour went to Exeter flanker Jacques Vermeulen – the number eight again showed his attacking prowess in another excellent performance.
Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter praised his number eight after the game, saying that Simmonds had done all he could in regards to selection for the Lions.
“It is exactly what you have got to do. Games are running out before (Lions) selection happens, and you have got to maximise your opportunities,” Baxter said.
“I thought most of our guys who are in with a shout for the Lions did all the good that they could do tonight.”
Decisions to be made for Warren Gatland.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland watched on from the stands at Ashton Gate stadium, and surely enjoyed what he saw from a number of Exeter players as the reigning European champions returned to form against Bristol.
Simmonds didn’t get on the scoresheet himself but showed great pace in the first half to set up a Tom O’Flaherty try.
Check out the wheels on @samsimmonds_ 😱
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) April 23, 2021
Friday night’s game against Bristol was the last opportunity for Simmonds and his fellow Exeter Lions hopefuls to impress Gatland, as there are no Premiership games scheduled for next weekend.
Gatland announces his Lions squad on the 6th of May, and while Simmonds hasn’t played international rugby for England since 2018, the 26-year-old has been widely tipped to go on the tour to South Africa.