Rugby: Wallabies lock Simmons to leave Waratahs, linked with Irish

Wallabies test centurion Rob Simmons has confirmed he will leave the New South Wales Waratahs at the end of the Super Rugby AU competition to take a deal overseas.

Simmons has been linked with a move to English Premiership club London Irish where is expected to form an all-Australian second row with Wallaby Adam Coleman.

Simmons, who took over the Waratahs captaincy after Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper gave it up pre-season, said it was a “tough decision” to leave but time for a new opportunity.

“Timing with situations like this can’t always be perfect, but the Waratahs have been fantastic in understanding my desire to take on a new challenge,” the 31-year-old said in a statement on Friday.

“I’ve loved my time in Super Rugby and the last few years with the Waratahs, it’s a wonderful organisation and it’s been an honour to lead this group throughout 2020.”

Simmons joined the Waratahs in 2018 after 114 matches with the Queensland Reds.

The Waratahs are second-bottom midway through the five-team Super Rugby AU with one win from four games.

“His leadership and influence over our squad has been outstanding to witness – particularly given the challenges we’ve all recently faced,” Waratahs coach Rob Penney said.