Reds sign Australia U20s duo
Scrum.com
May 23, 2008

Australian Under 20 squad lock Rob Simmons and hooker James Hanson have signed with the QR Reds for 2009-10.

Hanson was a member of the QAS Reds Academy squad in 2008 and Simmons was on a one year rookie deal with the Reds. Both are members of the Australian Under 20 squad to play in the iRB Junior World Championship in Wales next month.

QRU Performance Rugby Manager Ben Whitaker said the signing of Hanson and Simmons continued the Reds' policy of bringing talented young players along a development pathway that prepares them for the rigours of professional rugby.

"Rob was part of the Reds squad this year and, although he is still very young, he's shown us that he has the mental strength and toughness to go with his size and natural talents. With another off-season of athletic development under his belt we'd expect to see him getting some game time in Super 14 in 2009," Whitaker said.

"James has benefited greatly from his time in the Academy and a stint with the Melbourne Rebels in last year's Australian Rugby Championship. Coming into the Reds' squad as one of three contracted hookers, James will have the opportunity to enhance his development even further.

"Playing in the Under 20 World Championship will also be tremendously beneficial for both of them, and the Reds view this international experience as a key to their professional development," Whitaker said.

The signings follow last week's news that pacy centre/wing Blair Connor - another U20 squad selection - has graduated from the QAS Reds Academy to the full QR Reds squad on a two year deal.

Rob Simmons
Born: 19/4/89 Theodore Qld
Physical: 2m, 118kg
Club: Sunnybank
Qld Caps: 0
ARC Caps: 6 (East Coast Aces)
Rep Honours: Qld, Aust Schools 2006, Aust U19 2007, Aust U20 squad 2008

James Hanson
Born: 15/9/88 Brisbane
Physical: 1.8m, 99kg
Club: University
Qld Caps: 0
ARC Caps: 10 (Melbourne Rebels)
Rep Honours: Qld, Aust Schools 2005, QAS U19 2006, Aust U19 2006, 2007, Aust U20 squad 2008

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