SYDNEY (Reuters) - Experienced lock Rob Simmons has moved to the New South Wales Waratahs and committed to the Australian Rugby Union until after the next World Cup in Japan, the ARU said on Thursday.
Simmons, who is joining the Waratahs next season from the Queensland Reds, has played 73 times for the Wallabies and started their most recent test against the All Blacks in Dunedin last Saturday, which Australia lost 35-29.
Simmons said the prospect of continuing to play international rugby was a major factor in his decision.
“I definitely wanted to stay in Australian Rugby,” Simmons said in an ARU statement. “I love playing for the Wallabies and hopefully I’ll have another chance to pull on the gold jersey next weekend against South Africa.”
The Wallabies face South Africa in the next round of Rugby Championship matches in Perth on Sept. 9.
Simmons won the Super Rugby title with the Reds in 2011 and had played more than 100 games for the Brisbane-based side, but was told in June he would not be offered a contract for next season.
He said at the time he had been offered an ARU contract until the 2019 World Cup, but needed to find a Super Rugby team to continue to play in Australia to activate it.
The player labour market has contracted in Australia with the governing ARU’s decision to cull the Perth-based Western Force from next season as part of a Super Rugby revamp.
“Queensland has been great to me but I’m looking forward to doing whatever I can to take the ‘Tahs to where they want to be,” the 28-year-old added.
“Hopefully I can add some experience to the side, and we can push for finals next year.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford