“I can have a big impact.”
Sam Simmonds is confident that he can have a “big impact” for the British and Irish Lions on this summer’s tour to South Africa.
Simmonds hasn’t played international rugby since 2018 but was named in Warren Gatland‘s 37-man Lions squad, ahead of the incumbent England number eight Billy Vunipola.
The Exeter Chiefs player is the top try-scorer in this season’s Gallagher Premiership but told the BBC that he is capable of far more than just scoring tries.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) May 6, 2021
Sam Simmonds on his inclusion in the Lions squad.
“I might not have the amount of carries as some of the bigger players, but I feel like every time I do touch the ball it’s an effective carry,” Simmonds said.
“Whether it’s in wide channels or full traffic, it’s not just bulldozing my way through, it’s finding other ways of beating defenders and gaining metres.
“I’m not just a ball carrier and a try-scorer, my tackle numbers are up there throughout the Premiership this year and I think on both sides of the ball I can have a big impact.”
Sizeable Springbok forwards await for Sam Simmonds and Lions team.
Simmonds was tipped by many fans and pundits alike to tour with the Lions this summer, despite the Exeter forward’s absence from Eddie Jones’ England squads.
The 26-year-old is on the small side for a number eight, weighing in at roughly 16 stone. But Gatland is clearly confident that Simmonds will be able to handle the sizeable South African forwards that await the Lions.
🏅 Reigning European Player of the Year
🔝 2020/21 Premiership top try-scorer
🦁 British and Irish Lion
Sam Simmonds is named in the 2021 #LionsRugby squad 👏
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 6, 2021
Although there may have been a temptation to go with heavier back-row forwards such as Billy Vunipola and CJ Stander, the hard ground in South Africa may prove very suitable for someone with Simmonds’ speed.
Simmonds is likely behind Taulupe Faletau in the pecking order for the number eight shirt, but may well be competing with fellow surprise selection Jack Conan for a place on the bench against the Springboks.