Buy this product here: My Knight In Shining Armor Turned Out To Be An Operator In Dirty Boots Shirt, hoodie
Home page: Beutee Store
My Knight In Shining Armor Turned Out To Be An Operator In Dirty Boots Shirt, hoodie
‘My phone went mental,’ he says. ‘Getting messages from guys I watched like Jerome Kaino, Ardie Savea and Dan Carter was amazing. The fact Dan Carter just knows who I am is crazy. Growing up, I stayed at my dad’s house on Thursday night and would wake up at 6am to watch those guys playing Super Rugby on TV before school. I loved it. Just being mentioned by these guys is surreal.’
Did he hear from Eddie Jones? ‘Yeah, he sent me a text to say, “Well done”. Over the past few months, there has been more chat with the England set-up and that gives you some confidence. I was always hopeful that if I wasn’t selected by the Lions then I’d be involved on the England summer tour.
Gatland will be hoping that Simmonds’s dynamic attacking play will come to the fore in South Africa
‘I was gutted not to be involved in the Six Nations but the positive is that my form has been good for Exeter and I’ve been playing in a winning team, which gave me the best possible opportunity to be picked for the Lions.
‘It’ll be great to right some of the wrongs of when I played international rugby in the past. I’m more mature and more physical now. I know how to train.
‘When I was first involved, the England environment shocked me a bit. You live and breathe it for eight weeks straight at Pennyhill Park.
‘With club rugby, you go home at the end of the day. The intensity of it shocked me, but that was four years ago and I’m a different player now.
‘I still want to play for England and be in contention for selection in the autumn. I’ve not been getting selected for England and I’ve made peace with that, but I still want to be a part of a successful England team.
‘I want to get back to playing for England. I feel like I could have a role to play in the England side and hopefully I can prove that in the summer.’
Gatland will be hoping that Simmonds’s dynamic attacking play will come to the fore in South Africa. His combination of power and pace could be the way to beat the big Bok beasts.
‘Warren Gatland said in his interviews that everyone will get a chance to play at the start. It’s up to me and everyone else to stake their claim. It’s bit of a fresh start.