Sydney (AFP)

Wallabies second row Rob Simmons will leave the NSW Waratahs at the end of the Australian Super Rugby season to have a first experience abroad and join the London Irish, the English player and club have announced.

The London Irish confirmed in a statement the commitment of the Australian international "after an agreement reached with the Waratahs and the Australian Rugby Federation".

"It was a really difficult decision to make but after discussing it with a lot of people around me, I felt it was time to take the opportunity to play abroad," said his side Simmons.

Within the London Irish, the 31-year-old, who has 100 caps with Australia, will find four of his teammates: Nick Phipps, Sekope Kepu, Curtis Rona and Adam Coleman.

Simmons, a 2015 World Cup finalist with Australia against New Zealand, joined the Waratahs in early 2018 after playing with the Queensland Reds with whom he won a Super Rugby title in 2011.

The powerful second row (2m, 115kg) was named captain of the "Tahs" in January, replacing third row Michael Hooper, who was also his captain with the Wallabies in that role.

"Rob comes to the London Irish with a fantastic club and team experience," said London Irish manager Declan Kidney, "happy" to have been able to attract "such a player".

© 2020 AFP