It says a lot about the form of veteran lock Rob Simmons that his Wallabies teammates are not thinking about his send-off.
The Argentina Tri Nations Test on Saturday night is likely to be Simmons’ 106th and last appearance for Australia, with the 31-year-old signing to play with London Irish.
But his Wallabies cohort have little planned by way of a farewell, with fellow lock Matt Philip saying he expected to see Simmons turning out in the Australian gold again.
“We haven’t spoken about it,” Philip said of Simmons’ departure.
“Rob’s played 106 Test matches but some of the last couple of ones have been his best so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back.”
Despite his shift overseas, Simmons could still be selected for Australia, fulfilling ‘Giteau’s Law’ of having a minimum of 60 Test caps, which is a requirement for players not playing Super Rugby.
There was an addendum for 2020 to allow for two overseas-based players who did not reach this mark but lock Rory Arnold appeared to be the only player in consideration before he broke his arm.
It is unclear if the ruling will continue next year, with the preference of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie to use local players.
Rennie said Simmons, who played nine seasons with Queensland before shifting to NSW for a further three, had been a “massive contributor”.
“Obviously lock’s been a position we’ve been pretty thin in so his experience … and he’s made good shifts in his game, really worked hard around his physicality and tackle, clean and carry,” Rennie said.
“It’s great to see a guy who has played 100 Tests can still try and grow his game, so who knows (if he will play again)?”
Simmons said he is not preparing as if Saturday will be his last international game, and that he would always be available to the Wallabies if required.
With or without him, Simmons feels the side can look forward to a bright future.
“The detail in our game has gone to a new level and the way the group has bonded together in the last 12 months … it comes down to the connections you have with each other on the field and how much you’re willing to play for each other.
“This is one of the strongest groups I’ve felt that (with).”