Sims supports Semi’s switch

Fijian international Ashton Sims has no problem with his Bati teammate Semi Radradra playing for the Kangaroos.

It’s the selection that has fired up the rugby league world, polarizing fans, players, the media and officials everywhere from Wigan to Wollongong.

Parramatta flyer Semi Radradra has switched his international allegiance from Fiji to Australia, after becoming eligible from a three-year residency period, and has put his hand up for the Kangaroos.

Mal Meninga has now picked him and the winger will made his green and gold debut against New Zealand in the Anzac Test in Newcastle tomorrow.

It’s a move that has enraged many across the globe but one person who supports Radradra is fellow Fijian international Ashton Sims.

The Warrington front-rower has played for the Bati in two World Cups and captained the country in 2014.

Sims has appeared for Fiji alongside Radradra but is backing the 23-year old and his controversial change all the way.

“It’s a tough one, I’d love for him to be there [with Fiji],” Sims says.

“But he’s a big grown man and he’s a great player. He’s certainly not disrespecting Fiji by playing.

“I’m so happy he’s playing so well and he’s got an opportunity to represent Australia. All the best to him.”

Born and raised in NSW, Sims has represented Fiji through his mother’s heritage. At the last World Cup he played against the country of his birth, Australia, alongside his two brothers, Tariq and Korbin, in the tournament’s semi-finals.

Radradra and his family have spoken of the financial gain they will receive by him playing for Australia, with the Eels star their main bread-winner.

Considering the murky world of international eligibility, Radradra has done nothing wrong and with his change allowed under the current rules.

Sims believes the Suva-born outside back should not be criticized.

“Semi’s trying to better himself,” he says.

“You can’t knock a bloke for that. As great as it would be for him to be with Fiji, but as it’s been well said he’s got to look after his family and himself.

“Good on him. I’m just so proud of him the way he’s played the last few years since the 2013 World Cup.”

Sims has been playing for Fiji since 2008 and first came into contact with Radradra at the last World Cup in the UK.

“Then appearing in the forwards for the Bati, the ‘Semi Trailer’ had yet to establish himself in the NRL and was largely unknown but the 31-year old knew he was something special.

“He was just so big and raw,” Sims remembers.

“He stood out to us. I saw the potential straight away, I know it’s easy for everyone to say, but he was unique.

“You get a guy who’s about 112 kilos, runs like he does and has got the physique like he does and he’s quite skillful as well.

“The world’s his oyster if he’s ready to get his knees and elbows dirty and give a good rip.”

The spotlight and intense criticism from all quarters has been something new for Radradra to handle. According to Sims, the dynamic outside back is a quiet and composed character who deserves praise not condemnation from the rugby league world.

“He is very humble,” the ex-Cowboys and Broncos prop says.

“It’s just so great to see a guy so humble and just so down to earth and getting so much success.

“I know he works hard at his game, he’s doing a really good job at Parramatta.”

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