Simmonds delighted to be back
By Mark Stevens
Sam Simmonds is hopeful he will get to play a part for the Exeter Chiefs during the final weeks of the season.
The England international marked his comeback from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament sustained against Worcester Warriors back in September by figuring for 35 minutes in the Premiership Rugby Shield clash between Exeter Braves and Saracens Storm at Sandy Park.
Seven months on from picking up that injury, Simmonds was back in competitive action, producing a decent cameo which augurs well for the future.
Although he will not feature against Harlequins in tomorrow's Gallagher Premiership clash, the 24-year-old back-row forward is keen to get back amongst the cut and thrust of the top-flight, particularly as the Chiefs build-up for next month's end of season play-offs.
"It was great to be back out there again," he said. "I've waited a long time, it's seven months since I last played, but just the feeling of being competitive again, playing alongside the boys and stepping out on the pitch, it's a good feeling."
In what was an untimely blow for Simmonds, especially after his efforts last season where he was crowned the Premiership's Young Player of the Year and was also capped by England, the all-action forward says he is keen to make up for lost time.
"It's been tough and I've had a few dark days," he admitted. "It's probably the toughest I've had to work in my caeer, but hopefully this is the light at the end of the tunnel and getting that 35 minutes under my belt has really helped me.
"I know I'm nowhere near fit enough yet and I was a little bit rusty out there, but hopefully this is the stepping stone to getting me back to full fitness."
Simmonds has heaped praise on the club's medical and conditioning departments, both of whom have worked him tirelessly to get him back out on the pitch.
"It's not just the time I put in alongside the other rehab boys, but it's the physios and the conditioners as well. If I come in early and I leave late, they have to do the same. They've pushed me hard to get me to where I am now and I'm thankful to all of them that I'm out there playing again.
"I've come back at an exciting time of the season. We've got some big games coming up in this next month or so, so hopefully I can play my part and help the team win."