Simon Zebo's 'phone is always on' should Ireland's call come

Simon Zebo's 'phone is always on' should Ireland's call come

Racing 92 star Simon Zebo has said his phone "is always on" should the call to join back up with the Ireland squad come.

The winger-cum-fullback has not lined out for Ireland since his decision to leave Munster for France, with his last cap coming in 2017.

Paddy Power Rugby Ambassador Simon Zebo
Paddy Power Rugby Ambassador Simon Zebo

Following Ireland's 32-20 defeat to England at the weekend, the Paddy Power Rugby Ambassador and columnist with Paddy Power News has said he is ready to answer national side's call, should one come.

Speaking in a Q&A, Zebo said the defeat will have been disappointing for England, "but they still had the opportunity to win it."

"They weren't a million miles away with 15/20 minutes to go on the clock. That just shows how good and competitive this team is."

When asked about Irish fans in some quarters calling for Zebo's return to the national fold, he said it was "hugely flattering" and that it meant a lot.

"Especially when you are playing out of the country and there's still so many people that think so highly of you back home who want to see you wearing the green jersey.

I'll just keep on chasing and trying to give the coaches a few headaches by playing well. Hopefully, we'll go a long way in the tournament in the Champions Cup with Racing and do well in the Top 14, like we've been doing.

All I can do is play my best rugby and give them decisions to make come World Cup time. For now, I'll lay low, under the radar and keep doing my best. That's all I can do.

The former Munster man was asked about Robbie Henshaw's performance at full-back and Zebo felt he had an off day.

"Henshaw is a world-class player. He's a Lion, he's a Grand Slam champion and a Champions Cup winner. He's a proven performer. Everyone can have an off day and that was probably it.

"I touted him to go in and have a stormer, but it just wasn't to be. He just had a little off game and he hasn’t played at full-back in years, so you can't fault the guy really."

Zebo backed Henshaw to learn from his outing in the 15-jersey against England, saying: "The rust will be knocked off him now and if he gets selected there again, he'll be all the better for it."

Zebo added that he expects Schmidt to give Henshaw "another crack at full-back" against Scotland and said that he can see an Irish backlash next Saturday.

"They're going to be hurting, they're a wounded beast now and Scotland have their tails up after a bonus point victory over Italy. So, it's going to be a very close game, I fancy Ireland to win it by a couple of points."

He stated that he thinks Schmidt will "stick with what he knows" in terms of selection for the clash with the Scots despite injuries forcing his hand in some positions.

"I'd say he's going to stick to his tried and tested like he always does and see how it goes."

Zebo's former Munster teammate Billy Holland was called up to the Ireland squad today after Devin Toner "aggravated an ankle injury" against England.

Toner is among four who picked up injuries in the England game, with winger Keith Earls and centre Garry Ringrose joining the Leinster lock as doubts for the Scotland clash.

CJ Stander suffered the biggest injury with suspected facial fractures threatening to keep the back row out “for up to four weeks”.

Zebo is of the belief that Stander will be missed, saying: "He's got a great engine and he carries the ball probably more than anybody in world rugby."

More on this topic

Jamie George insists England well prepared if Italy clash disrupted by coronavirusJamie George insists England well prepared if Italy clash disrupted by coronavirus

Logistical headache for Six Nations bosses over coronavirus postponementsLogistical headache for Six Nations bosses over coronavirus postponements

England wing Anthony Watson on mend after calf injury ahead of Wales clashEngland wing Anthony Watson on mend after calf injury ahead of Wales clash

Ferreira hopes Carbery injury timeline remains same despite second surgeryFerreira hopes Carbery injury timeline remains same despite second surgery