SAM SIMMONDS aimed to make up for lost time at Murrayfield with Exeter No. 8 knowing there was no excuse if England couldn’t.
Good enough to be cast for the Lions mission in South Africa last summer, it wasn’t until the fall series that he returned in the good Jones books – for the first time since Six countries lost to Ireland at Twickenham in 2018.
But the 27-year-old is not focused on what can happen to it now but all about the England future he can create for himself, along with Captain Tom Curry and Lewis Ludlam.
“I never doubted myself when I was dropped from the team,” said Simmonds. The first was a lengthy injury that kept me out of the game since late 2018, so I pretty much missed the entire 2019 season.
“My thoughts are just getting back to playing rugby, doing what I love and putting a string of games together.
“I started playing well and people talked about it. But it’s not like the other defenders in the team are playing badly.
“It’s just about me trying to keep going, improving the things that Eddie and the other coaches want me to improve on. I always knew that my time would come again. It is only a matter of time. ”
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That ‘when’ is now though suspicions that Jones doesn’t want to be moved by a media team on behalf of Simmonds remains.
Simmonds added: “Better people say I’m playing well than not playing well at all, or people say I’ve had a bad year.
“I’m just focused on playing for Exeter, the job I love to do, and my form just keeps getting better.”
Aussie Jones has warned his side they will face an onslaught of wind and rain – not to mention considerable hostility from the home fans.
Under normal circumstances, that combination does not add excitement to rugby.
It will be consuming, petty, about getting the basics right, minimizing mistakes and some old fashioned spoilers. The kind of game that a row of positive forwards indulges in.
Simmonds added: “If you look at the back row, it’s full of action. The boys love to perform, love to tackle, get over the ball – and that’s what we need. ”
Regarding his own role, Simmonds proposed evolution, not revolution. He said: “I’ve been playing for Exeter for five or six years now and we’ve never had a recognized, old-fashioned No 7 play great ball.
“It’s something I want to add to my game. Not just overturning the ball – it’s the work in the crash after you handle it.
“Revenue can often be few and far between. But if you’re slow and messy, let a 9 head in or have a poor pass, that’s a big thing that some people don’t notice. ”
However, Jones, of course, perceives and will expect Simmonds, Curry and Lewis Ludlam to neutralize the threat posed by Scotland midfielder Finn Russell, while creating time and space for England rookie Marcus Smith.
And Simmonds is one of seven England players to have made fewer than 10 caps, partly through injury, but also by design.
He added: “Obviously there are a lot of new faces – some very young ones who are doing incredibly well in this year’s Premiership. They put their hands up and played well in the fall.
“That’s what we wanted to give, a new face to the way England play, and we wanted to get off to a good start against Scotland.
“In the end, what matters is the performance of the team. We’re here to win – we want to get our Six Nations off to a good start. “
Meanwhile, Jones was ordering his troops to target Finn Russell of Scotland.
Jones sends in a new-look England squad to take on the Six Nations at Murrayfield tonight featuring captain Curry, Simmonds and Ludlam.
But the British boss is assisting his trio to stop the hero Russell.
Red Rose’s defense coach Anthony Seibold said: “Finn is a back four who executes the game and has an effective style of play – but we have a plan.”
And Exeter No 8 Simmonds added: “We will go after him, not in one and two, but as a team.”
But Scotland captain Stuart Hogg mocked England ahead of today’s Six Nations game, insisting: “You guys don’t scare us anymore.”
WANT TO GIVE ‘EM ELL
Ellis Jenkins says Wales are ready to rip the form book in Dublin and tear the Irish to pieces at the launch of their Six Nations title defense.
No one gave Wayne Pivac’s men a chance last year but they still claimed a sixth crown.
Ireland had a magnificent autumn campaign, sending mighty Negroes to the sword.
They have Saturday’s clash between the league’s favorites and are on an eight-game winning streak.
Cardiff Blues winger Jenkins, 28, said: “Form is underrated when it comes to the rugby test match.
“Everybody ignores us but we just focus on ourselves. We talked about going out there to win the championship again. And that starts on Saturday. ”
But Ireland head coach Andy Farrell hopefully his side can deliver a show for fans – with a full Six Nations home expected for the first time in nearly two years following Covid restrictions amid the pandemic.
“It’s everything to us – it makes us tick,” says Farrell. We want to connect with people. The connection for us was huge and we missed that as a team. “
France’s chances of a positive start against Italy tomorrow have been shaken by the news that head coach Fabien Galthie has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be attending the match at the Stade de France.
Instead, general manager Les Bleus and former captain Raphael Ibanez headed the coaching staff, in which Galthie worked remotely.
Galthie tweeted: “I’m fine with mild symptoms.”
The French Rugby Federation said tests carried out yesterday did not give better results.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4617461/six-nations-england-sam-simmonds-scotland/ England star Sam Simmonds aims to make up for a FOUR YEAR absence against Scotland as part of a new look Red Rose