Six tries in his first six starts this season for Exeter Chiefs launched Sam Simmonds’ quest for England honours. A graduate of the club’s academy, he relished his senior debut against London Welsh in an LV=Cup match in November 2012 and has combined his time at the club with dual-registered spells with Plymouth Albion and Cornish Pirates.
Educated at Teignmouth Community College, he played as a flanker for hometown club Torquay Athletic but the first glimpse of his talents was for the Devon U16 team, soon after he had been a late starter in the game. Little did Sam realise the advances he would make towards his first cap off the bench in the 21-8 win over Argentina at Twickenham this November. He was brought into the match-day squad at two days’ notice after Tom Curry withdrew through a wrist injury. After Sam won his third cap against Samoa at the end of that month, head coach Eddie Jones said: “He did pretty well on his first start at No.8.
He captained the Chiefs in the Premiership Sevens at Gloucester back in 2014 and last year, in the corresponding tournament, the Singha Sevens, he received the Player of the Final plaudits at the annual Premiership Rugby awards night. Sam had led the Chiefs at Sandy Park in the qualifying stages and again on finals day at the Ricoh Arena when his side lost narrowly to Wasps.
At the end last season, he scored the last-gasp try that beat Saracens 18-16 in the Premiership semi-final at Sandy Park and helped the Chiefs to lift the title for the first time with a 23-20 victory over Wasps at Twickenham.
Sam signed a new two-year contract with the Chiefs last February, a few days before his try-scoring Premiership debut against Wasps. When being selected by Eddie Jones for the training camp in Portugal in the build up to the 2017 Old Mutual Wealth Series, he had played 12 times in the Premiership and scored eight tries.
Fly half Joe, his younger brother, has also come through the Chiefs academy system at Ivybridge College, first played in the Premiership against Newcastle Falcons last November and represented England at U20 level in the Six Nations Championship.
2017 Arg(R), A(R), Sam
Last updated: 26 November 2017