Simon Zebo: 'I’d definitely pick up the phone to Andy if I got a call'

Simon Zebo: 'I’d definitely pick up the phone to Andy if I got a call'

Simon Zebo has said he has a good relationship with incoming Ireland head coach Andy Farrell - and has reiterated that he is available for international selection.

Former Munster winger Zebo also took aim at departing coach Joe Schmidt's team selection, saying that players "playing the best rugby of their careers" were overlooked at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"Regarding selection, I found it very disappointing. It seems like the players who were in form weren't playing – you look at Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, to name just a few," he wrote in his column for Paddy Power News.

"There were several players playing the best rugby of their careers not getting picked and it was unfortunate to see that happen again."

Despite concerns over selection and the team's style of play, the Cork man is confident that Farrell will be a success in the hot seat.

"The players are there. There's great quality of player in Ireland.

Andy Farrell is an extremely smart coach and he knows exactly how to push certain buttons. He'll change a few things and he has Mike Catt coming in as an attack coach, so Ireland's game will definitely evolve with some fresh ideas.

"Andy will be able to build on this World Cup and get a successful period going with himself at the core of it looking forward to France 2023."

Plying in trade in the country where the next Rugby World Cup is being played, Zebo is hoping Farrell won't adhere to the policy of not selected players for the national team, who are not based in Ireland.

"I’m enjoying my rugby in France but I’d definitely pick up the phone to Andy if I got a call," he insisted, adding his current focus is on the Top 14 campaign in Paris with Racing, who have won just two of their eight league matches to date.

"I haven't been in contact with anyone in the Irish set-up really. Our season at Racing is just getting into gear and the World Cup will be fresh in everyone's mind there.

If something happens in the future, great. If it doesn't, it's not the end of the world –I'm happy playing my rugby in France.

"But I have a very good relationship with Andy. He might have a different view on players playing abroad than Joe and, if he decides to give me a call, I would of course look at coming back and being available for selection."

- Simon Zebo was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News. To read more, visit news.paddypower.com

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