Exeter Chiefs’ 7s skipper Sam Simmonds is targeting a spot in Rob Baxter’s back row this season, after impressing with a Player of the Final performance in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series.
Simmonds scored three tries in the first two Chiefs’ games at the Ricoh Arena, wins over Cardiff Blues and Sale Sharks, but his side were narrowly beaten by Wasps 31-28 in the final.
The 21-year-old also won the Man of the Round award as Exeter progressed to the Singha 7s showpiece from Group B at Sandy Park in July.
And the flanker hopes he has pressed his case for a spot in the Chiefs’ first team alongside the likes of Julian Salvi, Dave Ewers and Thomas Waldrom.
“We’ve still got some pre-season games which I’ll be involved in, I can only keep trying to push my cause. Hopefully I’ve done that over the last few weeks in the Singha 7s,” said Simmonds.
“I want to push on when I’m at Exeter, and keep training hard. Obviously the back row at Exeter isn’t easy to get into so it’s going to be a hard year, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“We won the Singha 7s Plate last year and we came into the competition wanting to go one better and although we didn’t win it, I think we’ve really come on.”
Exeter fought back from 21-7 down in their semi-final against Sale Sharks with Harrison Cully’s late try seeing them through to the final where they faced hosts Wasps.
And in a final which swung both ways throughout, it was Wasps who managed to come away with the title, despite Chiefs’ late charge which so nearly bore fruit on the whistle.
Simmonds said he was delighted with the efforts of his players after a great tournament which saw them win every group game on home soil two weeks ago.
“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in the last two weeks,” he added.
“Obviously we would have loved to have won it but Wasps were the better side in the end.
“They had obviously done their homework against us and fronted up physically, so we are proud of what we have done. Next year we’ll try to go one better again and keep improving.
“It was a team performance really; there’s other boys around me that really played well today, played a lot better than they did last week.
“To win the first two games, especially when we were behind against Sale, we showed big character.”
Cardiff Blues 17 (Jenkins 2, Lewis)
Sale Sharks 24 (T Curry, B Curry, Odogwu, Langdon)
Exeter Chiefs 38 (Simmonds, Mason, Jess 3, Landry)
Northampton Saints 12 (Emery, Dix)
Wasps 24 (Wade, Bassett 2, Howe)
Harlequins 19 (Hirskyj-Douglas, Cowell, Mikalcius)
Newcastle Falcons 17 (Catterick, Radwan, Ffitch)
Ospreys 28 (Williams 2, O’Flaherty, Phillips)
Cardiff Blues 40 (Jenkins, Davies, Beale, Thomas, Lewis, Tomlinson)
Northampton Saints 10 (Lozias, Kingham)
Harlequins 45 (Mikalcius, Ibitoye 3, Waters 2, Smith)
Newcastle Falcons 21 (Marshall, Radwan 2)
Sale Sharks 21 (T Curry, Odogwu, Scott)
Exeter Chiefs 26 (Simmonds 2, Hendrickson, Cully)
Wasps 24 (Thompson, Halai, Howe, Wade)
Ospreys 14 (O’Flaherty 2)
Saracens 29 (Mackinder 2, Okemba, Vistisen 2)
Bristol Rugby 7 (Vaughan Fowler)
Cardiff Blues 28 (Davies, Beale 2, Evans)
Harlequins 22 (Hirskyj-Douglas, Lamb-Cona, Mikalcius 2)
Exeter Chiefs 28 (Bodilly 3, Simmonds)
Wasps 31 (Thompson, Halai, Howe, Wade, Cruse)