'The dream is always going to be alive. I'd always love to represent my country'

Simon Zebo would relish the opportunity to pull on the green jersey again.

Simon Zebo: settling into Parisian life.
Simon Zebo: settling into Parisian life.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

SIMON ZEBO HAS not given up on playing for Ireland again, he says. 

The Racing 92 star had to watch on as his former international teammates rounded out an incredible year with an historic defeat of the All Blacks in recent weeks. 

“I’d obviously love to play for Ireland,” he told Murray Kinsella on this week’s Heineken Rugby Weekly podcast. “I grew up wanting to play for Munster and Ireland and it’s been a dream playing for Ireland.

“Watching the boys in November, it was great because I was just delighted for all the players. I can only imagine how special that day was. I was watching the game, the atmosphere looked unbelievable and they never looked like losing strangely enough. That’s not very often you say that with an Irish team playing the All Blacks.

“It was a special day and maybe if I didn’t have a taste of beating the All Blacks I might have been a little more envious but for this November series I was just very happy for the boys just because I have so many friends within the team.”

In the meantime, Joe Schmidt has announced his intention to ‘give up coaching’ after next year’s Rugby World Cup, with Andy Farrell then taking over the head coaching position. The change may bring the possibility of foreign-based players being accommodated by the new Ireland backroom team, Zebo opes. 

“Yeah 100%, that would be great,” he said. “There’s no rule, so maybe it’s a coaching thing.  With Declan [Kidney], Tommy Bowe used to pay abroad and one or two others and with Joe, Johnny played abroad. It’s possible.

“Obviously they want to keep Irish players playing for the provinces which is very important too but maybe for one-off, very important tournaments there might be a little bit of leeway given, I don’t know.

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“The dream is always going to be alive. I’d always love to represent my country. But having said that it’s not in my hands to decide. I’m just going to keep playing the best rugby I can and keep enjoying myself and if the phone call comes, the phone call comes.”

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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