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Dublin: 10°C Monday 19 April 2021

European title 'a void that needs to be filled' for Zebo and Munster

While Zebo is unable to rule out a move away from his native province, the prospect of bringing a trophy home sounds like a reason to stay.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

SIMON ZEBO SAYS the elusive ‘golden nugget’ of European glory with his native province is what drives him to succeed at Munster.

Earlier this week the 27-year-old versatile winger refused to rule out a potential move away from Munster, with his provincial contract expiring at the end of the current season, and France the likely destination down the line.

But the Cork man has played 123 times and scored 55 tries for Munster, and having watched on from the stands in 2006 when Munster defeated Biarritz for their first European Cup, Zebo wants to experience that too.

“It’s a void that needs to be filled, that’s the main drive and ambition in this club, to get that golden nugget,” said Zebo.

“It’s the European trophy that we’re trying to get so hard, a lot of the guys who were in the stand that day are in their prime now and are leaders in this team. We’re the ones who can take it home.

“Winning against Racing would go a long way in getting us some momentum. We were probably lucky enough to come away with the two points (against Castres), but it was a tough place to go in their first game of the season in Europe. They’re a proud club.”

Simon Zebo Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Munster clash with Pool 4 leaders and Top 14 giants Racing 92 at Thomond Park tomorrow evening where Ronan O’Gara will return to Limerick again.

The ex-Ireland and Munster out-half has received a 10-week domestic touchline ban in the French league after an incident with a match official.  And Zebo believes the Racing 92 defence coach will be determined to create an upset having lost 22-10 at Thomond Park with the Parisians last season.

“I’m sure it’d mean the world to ROG, his focus now is purely on coaching. It’s different when you’re coming as a player, but as a coach’s point of view I’m sure it’s something he’d like to add to his resume,” said Zebo. “We’ll have to stop that from happening.”

World Cup winning All Black out-half Dan Carter could be fit again to play against Munster in the Round 2 clash, and Zebo says he is one of many threats that the French possess.

“Definitely, with somebody of Dan Carter’s ability and talent he can change a game just like that,” said Zebo.

If he gets an injury-free run of form then everyone will be talking about him being the best in the world still. He’s still world class.

“They have a world class backline. They’ve got pace all over it, poach threats, big hitters. They’re good aerially, they’ve slick hands, they’ve the full arsenal.

“Our forwards will have a big job in slowing down their momentum and trying to win some collisions in defence so that their backline don’t get front-foot ball.

“It has all the makings of a great game. Hopefully we get the weather to hold that up because we’ve got a very exciting backline ourselves.”

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Daragh Small

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