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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 21 March, 2018

Simon Zebo doesn't expect Ireland call in Paris

The 27-year old is already in international exile.

Simon Zebo pictured at the Munster Rugby Press Conference on Monday.
Simon Zebo pictured at the Munster Rugby Press Conference on Monday.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

SIMON ZEBO SAYS he doesn’t see any scenario developing where he will be recalled to play for Ireland while he is with Racing 92 in Paris.

The 27-year old, already in international exile following his October announcement that he is leaving Munster at the end of this season, said he has come to terms with being out of the Irish squad.

He hasn’t ruled out coming back to Ireland at some stage and then rekindling his international career, but he doesn’t think he will add to his 35 caps while he is abroad.

“I would imagine not, to be honest,” he replied, when asked could a series of injuries or other circumstances arise that would see him recalled by Ireland.

“I am here now and playing now, and I am not involved. If I was abroad I would imagine there would be an even slimmer chance of me playing.

“Rugby is a very short career. Playing in France is always something I wanted to do from day one. I will get my life experience. I will get my rugby experience and one day I might take it back here with me and see out my days with Munster.

“I am still young enough, it’s not like I will be coming back, if I did decide to come back, at 33 or 34. I am still only 27 so if I do come back then I would have no doubt that if I am playing well that I would have a chance.”

He hasn’t been shy posting photos of himself sitting on his couch in an Irish shirt cheering on Joe Schmidt’s side, but he would love to be still involved.

“It has been okay. I have had the experience of sitting on my sofa in the November series. It hasn’t been as bad as I would have thought.

Obviously, you would love to be representing your country and running out with the lads and giving it socks during the Six Nations because they are really special games.

“I have come to terms with my decision and what comes with it as of now. I just wish all of the lads up there the best. You never know what could happen in the future. I have made my decision. I don’t regret it.”

He said he knew ‘there is always a chance’ that he would be dropped from the international scene when deciding to move abroad.

“I would have thought there have been players before who have left and played. But it comes down to form and how you are going,” he added.

The start of the long goodbye begins in earnest on Friday against Glasgow Warriors in the PRO14, when he will play his final game at Musgrave Park in Cork, the pitch where he first announced his potential in a schools’ cup-winning side, which also included Munster skipper Peter O’Mahony.

It’ll be definitely sad. It’ll probably start to hit home when the final whistle goes a little bit, how the days are ticking and counting down unfortunately.

“Hopefully, we can end it with a win, at least I will have a smile on my face if we win. But if we lose it will be a bit of a double whammy. That’s something I don’t want. I just do what I have been doing all season.

“I have great memories of the venue. We beat Christians in the schools’ final which made it even sweeter. And I scored the best schools try ever scored there! That was 2007.”

What was the try like?

“A 110-metre try!”

The luck of the draw might mean his new club Racing 92 coming to Thomond Park in the next few seasons to play Munster in the Champions Cup, but Zebo said he has a plan!

“I would pull a sickie, I wouldn’t play. I couldn’t play against Munster, there is no way I’d play!”

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Originally published 6:01 AM, 20 Feb 2018

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