Former New Zealand Sevens player Bailey Simonsson will follow his All Black’s dad when he begins a new career in NRL this weekend.
The 21-year-old son of Paul Simonsson has signed a deal with the Canberra Raiders on a development basis.
He takes the position that was left vacant by Kiwis wing Jordan Rapana, who remains on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
Simonsson spent two years as part of the New Zealand Sevens team and featured in the Mitre 10 Cup for Bay of Plenty.
His father played on two occasions on the wing for New Zealand on a tour of Japan in 1987. Later in his career, he signed for New South Wales side the North Sydney Bears.
— David Polkinghorne (@Super_Couch) February 13, 2019
Simonsson first broke into the Sevens team for the Hong Kong Sevens last year while the first team were preparing for the Commonwealth Games and also played in competitions in London and Paris.
“I’m good mates with [Raiders first-team squad wing] Nick Cotric, so it’s great being back with him and playing in Canberra,” Simonsson said on the Raiders’ website. “I’ve got a real desire to play in the NRL and especially in Canberra with the first side that gave me a chance when I was younger. To be back here and play is a bit of a dream.
“I went up to Sydney for a little while and then moved across to New Zealand and played with the All Blacks Sevens side. It’s been a good journey, and I’m happy to be back here,” he said.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to play for the All Blacks Sevens side. I learned so much playing with some of the best players in the world.”
Written by Alex Dudley
Main picture: Twitter