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Reds cut rugby Test veteran Simmons

NZN 6/06/2017 Adrian Warren

Wallabies veteran Rob Simmons' playing future is uncertain after Queensland's announcement they won't re-sign him.

A veteran of 71 Tests for Australia, 28-year-old Simmons was a starting second-rower for the Wallabies in the 2015 World Cup final.

Simmons last week was left out of the Australian squad for the three June Tests and was dropped from the Reds' Super Rugby side to play the Blues last Friday and then suffered a shoulder injury.

He has been a pillar of the Reds' lineout since making his 2009 debut against the Bulls in Pretoria.

However, the Reds have opted to go with youth rather than retain Simmons, who is their 14th highest-capped player with 112 appearances.

It's believed the decision is performance-based, as opposed to trying to free up money to squeeze Wallabies halfback Will Genia back onto the Reds' roster for next season.

Queensland coach Nick Stiles said the Reds believed their future lay with their clutch of young second-rowers, principally 20-year-olds Lukhan Tui and Izack Rodda, who started against the Blues in Samoa.

Tui has been called up to the Wallabies for the June Tests and Rodda is also highly regarded.

The Reds also have fellow Wallaby World Cup lock Kane Douglas on their books, while Queensland second-rowers Harry Hockings and Angus Blyth are part of the Australian squad contesting the world under-20 championships.

Considered a high-class lineout exponent, Simmons' physicality and ball-carrying have been questioned at times. He was dropped twice in three months last year by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika as the likes of Rory Arnold and Adam Coleman blossomed.

Stiles said it was a difficult but necessary decision by the Reds.

"These conversations are never easy, especially with players who have been with Queensland since they started and who have given their all for the state and the organisation," Stiles said.

"However, we believe that the future lies with the players who started the game in Samoa last weekend and with other emerging second-row talent that has come through our under-20s program.

"The reality is that all Australian Super Rugby teams have to make decisions based on future priorities, as well as salary-cap limitations.

"Rob will leave us at the end of the year with our best wishes and gratitude for the long service he has given Queensland."

It's not known whether Simmons will seek to stay in Australia or continue his career overseas.

One Super Rugby team that could potentially have a vacancy for Simmons is the NSW Waratahs, who are set to lose two Wallaby locks.

Will Skelton is heading to English club Saracens and Dean Mumm is retiring.

The Reds also announced on Tuesday they had released loose forward Leroy Houston from the second year of his contract for personal reasons.

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