'I didn't expect it to be so quick or so blunt': Zebo surprised by ruthlessness of Schmidt's call

By Stephen Barry

This year, Simon Zebo equalled Anthony Foley's European try-scoring record for Munster and sealed a move to French giants Racing 92.

However, his season will largely be remembered for two calls by Joe Schmidt and Johann van Graan to drop Zebo.

Upon announcing his intention to move to France last October, Zebo was unceremoniously dropped from the Ireland squad, despite remaining in Ireland until the end of the season.

Schmidt claimed this decision was based on form and Zebo, a constant starter during the 2017 Six Nations, missed out on an historic Grand Slam.

Speaking to RTÉ pundit and Irish Examiner columnist Donal Lenihan, Zebo revealed his surprise at the ruthlessness of the call.

"I didn't expect it to be so quick or so blunt," he said in the Against the Head interview.

"I wouldn't be bitter about it or anything. The squad have done really well and I wish everybody there all the best.

"I would have obviously loved to have been involved in the Six Nations or the November series.

"You've got to accept that some decisions have consequences and unfortunately that's the way it had to go for me."

Zebo was then dropped to be bench by Munster in April for their crunch Champions Cup semi-final against his future club Racing.

"I was shocked really, but you can't be too selfish in your thinking.

"You've just got to do what's best for the team. For me, that day it was to come off the bench.

"In hindsight, I would have loved to have played all 80 (minutes)."

Zebo may be in France for the forseeable future, but he's expressed an interest in returning to Munster.

He also says he will fight to make the Rugby World Cup squad in 2019, if possible.

"I see myself coming back. I wouldn’t come back to play with Leinster, anyway!

"Munster’s my home and it always will be. I'd hope this isn’t the end of my connection with Munster. I definitely see myself coming home in the future.

"I’m going to do my best to help Racing but also get picked for that World Cup in 2019. If not then, I'll wait for 2023."


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