Lions lawyer Max Duthie wrote in a blog for Legal Week that Zebo made the prank call to his club boss, putting him on speakerphone in front of the entire Lions personnel after falling foul of the squad’s fines system.
Duthie says the charismatic wing was hauled up for urging scrum-half Conor Murray to boot the ball out of play with the Lions 14-0 up on the Melbourne Rebels, on the premise that first-half time was up.
There were still 20 seconds to go, meaning Murray — a team-mate of Zebo’s at Munster — had unwittingly coughed up possession, with Duthie writing that Zebo could be seen “chuckling away to himself, shoulders rocking, at having spoofed his team-mate”.
O’Connell took up the story on Today FM yesterday: “If you got fined, you’d to roll a dice. There’d be six [punishments].
“Zebo, who’d picked up a number of fines, had to ring up Rob Penney and ask him for the Munster captaincy.”
Penney was seemingly on holiday in Greece when he took the call, and saw the funny side.
“Rob just started laughing, which was his answer, and everyone in the room erupted then,” said O’Connell.
Zebo and Murray’s friendship doesn’t seem to have been harmed by the incident — fresh off the plane from Australia, the duo headed to the roof deck of the SoHo bar in Cork city on Wednesday to soak up the sunshine.