July 31, 2020 / 6:03 AM / 8 days ago

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

FILE PHOTO: Australia's Rob Simmons is tackled by Wales' Josh Navidi (R) during a match at Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Britain on November 11, 2017. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - 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.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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