Patience has paid off for new Waratahs lock Rob Simmons, with the Test second rower eschewing overseas offers to wait for an Australian home.
Simmons had a nervous wait on his Super Rugby future after being released by the Reds, despite the ARU already offering him a top-up deal, with clubs hesitant to sign players with uncertainty around the competition’s future.
With 73 Tests under his belt, Simmons would still have been eligible for the Wallabies had he wanted to play overseas, but ultimately NSW came through with a deal, an event for which he was grateful
“It was a strange one – we could’ve done it (signed overseas) and it could’ve been quite quick, quickly all over with, but I think I’m happy we waited now,” he said.
“There was some daunting times, especially with my wife and things like that.
“We got through it, it was tough and we’re happy with our decision now.
“It would’ve been tough to make that decision if we went overseas and still have that hunger to be here and not be able to (play in Australia).”
Simmons said there was no bitterness over the way he left the Reds, with looking forward his only option.
“You’ve got not choice but to move on, really. I just try to do the best I can every week and see what happens after that.”
Though there’s no grudge, Simmons admitted it would be a strange moment when he donned the sky blue against the Reds for the first time.
“It’s like playing against your best mate, I suppose, it’s one of those ones, you never going to let your best mate beat you,” he said.
“It’s going to be a game you mark on the calendar and you’ll be keen to play.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said Simmons’s clear purpose had impressed him when deciding on recruiting the lock, after initially holding out on making any major signings.
“I think part of that is getting on with it, around a squad that’s fortunate to be really stable,” he said.
“We don’t have a lot of people leaving and so we’re at the stage where Rob’s available and he fit perfectly into our culture and exactly what we want.
“The thing that really impressed me about Rob is he’s got a real purpose.
“He knows he wants to go to the World Cup, he wants to do well and he’s got a real point to make sure he’s coming to the Waratahs with a real purpose and that’s what appealed the most to me.”
Simmons impressed in the second Bledisloe Test, but said he couldn’t rely on just one improved effort as he embarks on a new chapter in his career.
“It’s been a good few weeks but I suppose the way I see it it’s just the start of it,” he said.
“I don’t think I’m that far off (my best).
“It’s just about (developing) consistencies in my game, not doing one good thing and then resting on that and then coming back another 10 minutes later.”
He said the review of the game proved more painful than game night, with minor missed opportunities coming to the fore.
Simmons was training with the Wallabies in Sydney on Thursday, with the entire squad to reconvene in Perth on Sunday ahead of the September 9 Test against the Springboks.