UK

Sam Simmonds agrees Montpellier switch as Premiership salary cap continues to bite

Sam Simmonds is understood to have agreed a move to Montpellier ahead of next season as the ripple effect of the Premiership’s reduced salary cap continues.

Sources have indicated that the prolific back-rower, who has scored 80 tries in 116 appearances for Exeter Chiefs, will join the current Top 14 champions as a replacement for Zach Mercer.

Although Simmonds has not been a fixture in the England side under Eddie Jones, having had to wait almost four years before winning a recall and featuring in last season’s Six Nations, this feels like another symbolic move indicative of the Premiership’s financial constraints.

Now 27, the explosive Simmonds, a British and Irish Lions tourist in 2021, would seem to have his best years ahead of him. He featured in all five matches in the 2022 Six Nations but missed the July series against Australia after undergoing surgery on a hip issue. 

In his absence, with Alex Dombrandt also missing because of a knee injury, Billy Vunipola reasserted himself on the Test scene. 

England’s back-row options can rarely have been as abundant with Mercer set to be available for World Cup selection next year after agreeing a four-year deal with Gloucester worth around £450,000 a year.

More to follow.

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