Sam Simmonds had a Championship debut to remember in round one as he made a seamless transition into Eddie Jones’ England pack.
With Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes both injured, the Exeter Chiefs No.8 followed up his impressive showings in the summer with a fine game against Italy.
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He scored two tries as he demonstrated all the pace and power that has become a common sight to those who frequent Sandy Park to watch the Premiership champions regularly.
Against Italy, Simmonds topped England’s tackle count with 23, made the most metres and the joint most carries for his side.
He also scored two very well taken tries and unsurprisingly earned plenty of praise from head coach Eddie Jones post-match.
“When the game opened up he was in his element,” he said.
“He’s got gas and he does all our speed work with the backs as he’s that quick. He’s a great discovery for us, he gives us great options at number eight. Life’s full of contradictions and he’s one of them.”
“He gives a different type of No 8. He is like the guy who used to play for the All Blacks, Victor Vito. Very fast, elusive.”
His talents are well known to fellow Exeter Chief Jack Nowell who, after three substitute appearances in the Championship to date, has been ruled out by injury.
“He is a bit of a freak, isn’t he?” added Nowell. “Up there with one of the quickest I have played with. He has got a backside, so that’s where the power comes from.
“He has been doing that for us all season at Exeter. For him to put an England shirt on and show what he is about on a big stage is awesome.”
Simmonds missed the game against Scotland due to injury with Nathan Hughes taking his place at the tail of the England scrum.
And the Wasps man has retained his place to start against France this weekend in Paris but Simmonds is among the replacements.
Those who witnesses his lightning fast running against Italy will be excited to see what the 23-year-old can bring off the bench against Les Bleus.
And did you know Simmonds also has a brother? Fly-half Joe Simmonds is also at Exeter and made his full debut in the Chiefs’ recent win over Saracens – one to keep an eye on.