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Simon Zebo asked Rob Penney to make him Munster captain

We can imagine Penney was chuffed to take the surprise phone call.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

HE MAY BE the new poster boy of Munster Rugby, but most would struggle to see Simon Zebo stepping into the breach left behind by Doug Howlett and becoming the province’s captain.

Still, that didn’t stop Simon Zebo calling up Rob Penney a fortnight ago and asking for the job. From what we learned today on LegalWeek.com, it sounds as if Penney politely declined.

One of the staple pieces of any modern rugby tour is the ‘fines committee’; a means of keeping morale high by keeping player morals and standards in tact.

‘Fines’ will rarely take the form of a monetary payment. Instead a punishment is levied on the player. One such punishment found its way to Zebo, according to the Lions’ legal officer Max Duthie in his column with LegalWeek.com.

Duthie alleges that Zebo’s crime was roaring ‘put it out’ to Conor Murray when the pair were in the Lions side playing the Melbourne Rebels two weeks ago (the incident comes after 47 minutes here).


YouTube credit: FullRugbyMatches

The Lions had just won possession back 20 seconds before half time. Knowing Murray had his eye on the ruck rather than the clock, the wing conned his provincial team-mate to put the ball in the stands rather than run the following play.

“Conor did as instructed and kicked the ball into touch,” Duthie writes, “and waited for the referee to call time and run into the changing rooms for the half-time break. But instead the referee called for a line out and the Lions coaches and management scratched their heads as to why Conor had kicked to touch.

“Conor looked up at the clock and saw that there were still 30 seconds left to play and then looked over at Zebo who was chuckling away to himself, shoulders rocking, at having spoofed his team mate.”

That explains this moment then. YouTube screengrab.

Crime and punishment time, and in place of the scales of justice come a pair of furry dice courtesy of the fines committee; Geoff Parling, Richard Hibbard and Rob Kearney. The Corkman rolled, and struck number four:

“When the dice stopped on the number four, the room erupted with cheers because punishment number four required Zebo to telephone his club coach, Rob Penney, and tell him that he wanted to be captain next season.

“Within a few seconds, Jamie Roberts had dialed the number and rigged up the speakerphone, and there was Zebo making his case for Munster captaincy to his coach, while 80 players and management stifled their laughter in the background.

“It did not last long, as the hoots and squeals from those in the room gave the game away, but is was a wonderful piece of comedy.”

Let this be a lesson to all you backs looking to embarrass your poor innocent scrum-half.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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