Rob Simmons a key member of the Australia side that reached the 2015 Rugby World Cup final is looking forward to a new challenge playing in the English Premiership for London Irish

London (AFP) - Australian second row forward Rob Simmons, who won his 100th Wallabies cap at last year’s World Cup, said Friday he was relishing a new challenge after signing for Premiership club London Irish.

The 31-year-old will join several familiar faces at the club including fellow Wallabies Nick Phipps, Curtis Rona, Sekope Kepu and Adam Coleman.

The three-time World Cup veteran is leaving the NSW Waratahs after a two-year stay.

Previously he had been with the Queensland Reds, winning the Super Rugby title in 2011.

“London Irish can confirm that Australia international Rob Simmons has joined London Irish following an agreement with Super Rugby outfit NSW Waratahs and Rugby Australia,” London Irish said in a statement.

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney said signing a player of Simmons’ stature reflected the ambitions of the club.

“Rob comes to London Irish with fantastic club and international experience under his belt,” said Kidney.

“We are very happy that we had the capacity to recruit someone of Rob’s abilities.”

Simmons – who was an integral member of the Australia side that reached the 2015 World Cup final only to lose to New Zealand – said it had been “a really tough decision” to leave the Waratahs but he felt it was the right time to sample a championship abroad.

“Coming over to England is a brilliant opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get going with London Irish” said Simmons.

“I already know a few of the guys over there, so it will be good to have some familiar faces when I arrive.”

London Irish are moving back closer to their London base next season when they move into the news stadium of football club Brentford.

“It seems to be an exciting time for the club, especially with the stadium move next season, so I am looking forward to linking up with my new teammates and contributing as much as I can.”