Exeter Chiefs’ decision to loan promising back-row forward Sam Simmonds to Brixham is paying dividends for both clubs.
Robin Cowling, the Academy coach at Sandy Park, let Simmonds go out on loan to the National Three South West side last month after obtaining dispensation from the RFU.
As a player attached to a Premiership Academy, the RFU would like to see Simmonds playing at level four or higher. That option was not open to Simmonds as the suitable clubs in the Chiefs’ catchment area already had a full quota of loan players. Exeter just wanted to get Simmonds playing as he has had a year disrupted by injury.
Former Chiefs prop Dan Parkes is head coach at Brixham and he was more than happy to help out his old club, with Simmonds playing four games and scoring a try in each one.
A month into the arrangement that runs until early in the New Year, Cowling said the player and both clubs are seeing the benefit.
“The last thing we want is a young Academy player not playing rugby,” he said. “Long-term, Sam needs to be playing higher up at a better level for his development, but that couldn’t be done.
“We are grateful to Dan Parkes and Brixham for offering Sam regular rugby, which he really needs. I am pleased to hear he his playing well and delighted with the efficient way Brixham are dealing with things like getting a match DVD to us.
“We need the DVD to assist with Sam’s coaching development and Brixham get us a good quality one within a day or two of the game.”
Cowling added when the loan period ends he would consider making a case to the RFU for Simmonds to stay with Brixham if a higher-level club is not available.
Simmonds is in Brixham’s squad of 22 for tomorrow’s Devon Cup semi-final first leg clash with Newton Abbot at Rackerhayes (2.15pm). Having seven on the bench and 12 interchanges available allows both sides to use the game for development purposes.
Roy Henderson, Newton Abbot’s director of rugby, will not be risking Alex Smith or Brett Stroud, who are not fully fit. Recent absentees Ben Cole and Jason Keenan are included, as is free-scoring second XV player Laulau Apate, who has banked 20 tries.
“There is no point entering unless you are trying to win it and we will put out the best side we can,” said Henderson. “Laulau deserves a chance, as does Rhys Bull, a convert from rugby league who has been doing well in the centre.”