Warren Gatland has revealed that Sam Simmonds is in the running for a spot in his Lions squad despite being given the cold shoulder from Eddie Jones.
The number eight should be playing international rugby, so if his country (inexplicably) doesn’t want him, hopefully there will be an even higher calling.
On BT Sport over the weekend Lawrence Dallaglio reached a state of agonised exasperation saying: ‘Come on, people have got to see this. Pick him!’
The plea was no doubt aimed at Jones, but returning to the subject later, Dallaglio switched his focus to Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who was in attendance at the Rec.
‘This guy is the best No 8 in Europe,’ said Dallaglio. ‘He’s the quickest back-row forward around, he’s powerful, he’s got great footwork, he’s got great hands, he’s got work-rate — what more do you need?
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‘I’d be very surprised if Warren Gatland doesn’t like the look of what he sees.’
Gatland, who watched as Simmonds scored his 13th try of the season at the weekend, give this possibility a boost, revealing this week: “To be clear, the door isn’t shut on anyone.
“Obviously, we rather people were playing for their country regularly, but that can’t and won’t always be the case.”
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At the ripe age of 34, Danny Care continues to excel with Harlequins, who he has represented since 2006.
But the Leeds-born half hasn’t enjoyed much of a look in internationally during Eddie Jones’ time in charge.
He hasn’t played for the national team since a 35-15 win over Japan in November 2018 – a game he scored in – but his international career was infamously ended due to an off the field disagreement Jones that day.
He was once again overlooked for the 2021 Six Nations squad after Harry Randall’s withdrawal through injury despite his near impeccable club form.
Given that backdrop, his age, and with eyes on the upcoming 2023 Rugby World Cup, it seems unlikely the Care will get an England recall despite any clamour for one.
However, if you want the best Lions squad in 2021, picking on form is the way to go and Care’s recent form will undoubtedly have caught the attention of Warren Gatland.
He has never been called up for a Lions squad, with many feeling he was unfortunate not to get a look in for either of the 2009 and 2013 tours. Will 2021 finally be his time to shine in the famous red jersey?