Exeter's Joe Simmonds driven by brother Sam's success ahead of Premiership final
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/05/18 10:48pm
Joe Simmonds admits he has been spurred on by his brother Sam's achievements as he prepares for the "pretty crazy" prospect of driving Exeter's Aviva Premiership title defence at Twickenham.
The 21-year-old fly-half is set for a fascinating head to head with Saracens talisman Owen Farrell next Saturday after continuing his rapid rise through a dominant 19-point display against play-off opponents Newcastle.
Chiefs academy fly-half product Simmonds only made his senior debut last season and has featured in fewer than 30 first-team games, leaving Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter "fantastically impressed" with him.
Exeter number eight Sam, meanwhile, has risen to Test level, winning seven England caps this term, and Joe said: "It definitely pushed me on. I don't want to be left behind.
"He has trained and played so well and has got the rewards for it. It has pushed me on to do similar to what he has done."
Joe Simmonds was Exeter's travelling reserve when they won the final following a dramatic extra-time victory over Wasps 12 months ago, but centre stage now beckons for a player seemingly unfazed by the big occasion.
"It is pretty crazy that - hopefully when the team comes out - I will be involved at Twickenham this time," he added. "I have never played there, so it will be a crazy experience, I think.
"It was crazy last year with 80,000 people watching. I will block everything outside that out. I say it every time, but it is just a game of rugby, so I will see what comes next week.
"I am quite a positive person, so I always think of the good things. I have never really thought of the bad things playing rugby - I take it as it comes, and hopefully we get the win next weekend."
Such is Simmonds' form that it means Gareth Steenson - Exeter's Twickenham match-winner last year - currently provides bench back-up.
"I never say the 10 shirt is mine," Simmonds added. "He (Steenson) is such a good player, and it comes down to what you do during the week.
"I have got to be at the top of my game to put my hand up for that starting position. It is up to the coaches in the end, and I have to play my part when I get the opportunity.
"We always push each other, which brings the best out in both of us. If he or I start, we will both push each other on."