England v Australia
Rob Simmons out of Test with knee injury
October 31, 2013
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Rob Simmons will miss the Cook Cup Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday, and is in doubt for the remainder of the Grand Slam tour, after he aggravated a medial ligament strain at training on Tuesday afternoon.
The Wallabies' lineout caller was the only player quarantined from contact in the session, but he slipped during a shuttle run and is now looking at a minimum two weeks on the sidelines. He was being nursed back to action after straining his left knee early in the 41-33 loss to the All Blacks in Dunedin, where he played the game out.
Sitaleki Timani is set to start alongside James Horwill in a beefy second-row, but the Wallabies will miss Simmons' mobility and lineout expertise. Horwill, who was replaced by Timani midway through the second half in Dunedin, is now expected to share the calling duties with Ben Mowen.
Simmons' injury continues his rotten end-of-season luck after being rubbed out of the 2012 tour after playing just 15 minutes off the bench in the opening loss to France, the Queenslander suspended for eight weeks after he was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.
Simmons said before training on Tuesday that the frustrating end to a disappointing 2012 had spurred him to improve his game and bulk up in the gym to be a more powerful lock. The results of that improvement have impressed coach Ewen McKenzie with his high work-rate and consistency as well as his lineout work in his breakthrough Test season.
"Just 15 minutes and the tour was all over," he said.
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