EXETER CHIEFS PRESEASON CATCH UP – SAM SIMMONDS
Last week, Joff Alexander-Frye (our Editor-in-Chief – no pun intended) was invited to Sandy Park to find out about an exciting new partnership between the Exeter Chiefs and Red Bull. Most notably, this partnership centres around a brand new, state-of-the-art sports science suite which both first team and academy players are now able to use and benefit from.
Much of the technology that has been fitted in the new training suite is the same used by Red Bull’s Formula 1 team and it supplies players with industry-leading training equipment as well as providing coaches with the most insightful levels of data possible. This data can then be used in the development, recovery, injury analysis and training regimes of players. You can read more about the new facilities by clicking here.
Joff also sat down for one-to-one interviews with Chiefs first-team and England players Henry Slade, Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan Dickie.
Hey Sam. Thanks for your time today. How has your week been so far?
It’s been a tough week, easing back into our training routines and blowing off the cobwebs from having five weeks off. The physios and strength and conditioning coaches are really good at helping us to drop our load and get back into running and gym sessions. Five weeks away is nice, but i’ve been chomping at the bit to get back to training, doing what I love and seeing all the lads again. We’re a fit and hard-working team and the form we manage to achieve during the season is a reflection on how hard we work during preseason. It’s hard work but enjoyable too.
And what did you do with your summer break?
I went with a few of the boys to Croatia for a week which was amazing. Then I went to Mexico with my girlfriend for a couple of weeks. Two very different holidays but both much needed; some time to party and some time to relax. Like I say, ready and raring to go for the season now though.
What do you do to unwind during the season?
Well, our day off is usually Thursdays and most of us go out together for Nandos, coffee and just to hang out. A lot of the lads play Fortnite too which is obviously a huge craze at the moment. Personally, I love the beach so will try to get down to the coast as often as possible, to walk, swim or just chill.
In terms of the upcoming season, what personal hopes and goals do you have?
My primary aim is to perform well for Exeter. Anything else that might happen (playing for England, for example) will stem from that so I have to focus on putting in first-class performances for Exeter. Another aim is to play consistently well, week-in week-out and make a really strong start to the season.
Who would you say are your sporting heroes?
I follow football quite closely and played a lot when I was younger. As a Liverpool supporter, one of the biggest heroes for me growing up was Steven Gerrard. Simply incredible. In terms of rugby, you can’t under-estimate the monumental achievements of Jonny Wilkinson. What he has done for the game is huge and his defence as a fly-half is legendary.
And, as a Teignmouth boy, what do you make of Exeter?
It’s my home city and I love living in Devon. This is where I plan to live for my whole life and I love it. Not too far form the coast and my home town so it’s a dream really. Not many guys get the chance to play for Exeter, so to have that chance and be so close to my family in Teignmouth is a dream. It also shows the boys coming up through the academy now that local players can make it in the Premiership and they don’t necessarily have to move to other parts of the country to make that happen.
What would you have done if your career in rugby hadn’t gone the way that it has?
I didn’t really have a ‘plan-B’ but my Dad is a fisherman so I probably would’ve ended up on the boats, hauling pots. That was never something I wanted to do though and rugby was my sole focus from a young age. We say that preseason in tough on the body, but try being a fisherman for a day. It’s brutal.
And, finally, have you started thinking about your plans post-rugby?
I need to think more about that really, although i’m only young. You just don’t know what can happen at any time in rugby with head knocks or serious injuries of any kind. On paper I have a good few years ahead of me, but I do need to start thinking more about what I will do after my playing career. You have to enjoy the ride as well though as it all goes so quickly.
So good to chat Sam. Thanks for your time and I hope the rest of your preseason goes well and you have a fantastic year!