2022-09-25

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Exeter Chiefs talisman Sam Simmonds ‘agrees’ French move – Devon Live

The England international has scored a stunning 80 tries for Exeter Chiefs since making his debut in 2012
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On the eve of his first team return from surgery on a problematic groin, reports have emerged that Exeter Chiefs talisman Sam Simmonds has agreed to swap the Premiership for French Top 14 next season.
England international Simmonds is one of the pillars of the Devon club’s success over the last decade, emerging out of the Exeter academy to be named European Player of the Year in 2019/20 as Chiefs won the Heineken Champions Cup and then more recently become a British and Irish Lion in 2021 against the Springboks.
But now the 27-year-old Teignmouth-born and raised number eight, who plays in the Exeter side with his brother Joe, is reported to have signed for French champions Montpellier as a replacement for Gloucester-bound Zach Mercer.
READ MORE: Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins LIVE: Team news announcements and live updates
Simmonds, who has been named on the bench to face Harlequins on Sunday in Round Three of the Gallagher Premiership, has already scored a remarkable 80 tries in 116 appearances for Exeter Chiefs and in 2020/21 broke the Premiership’s single season try-scoring record, dotting down 20 times.
Both The Telegraph and Rugby Paper report a deal is agreed for Simmonds’ cross-channel move as Exeter continue to be victims of their own success and unable to keep hold of all their top talent under the Premiership’s new reduced £5m salary cap having seen Tom O'Flaherty and Jonny Hill both leaving for Sale Sharks this summer.
Simmonds hardly has the lure of England keeping him in England either as he has been an irregular fixture in Eddie Jones’ plans, earning just 14 caps despite being one of the dominant forwards in the northern hemisphere.
And England head coach Jones is understood to have been heavily involved in trying to lure Mercer back to the Premiership to make him eligible for the national side despite already having Harlequins star Alex Dombrandt and Billy Vunipola to select from.
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter is set to face significant competition to keep hold a number of his key players ahead of next season with Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, British Lions Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jack Nowell, and former captain Joe Simmonds all in the last year of their current contracts.
Nowell has already been heavily linked with a move to France post 2023 World Cup.
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