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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 6 June, 2020

'Losing to Leinster would be unacceptable' - Zebo

Munster back desperate to stop the rot against their arch rivals.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SIMON ZEBO SAYS it would be “unacceptable” for Munster to lose a fifth game on the trot – especially as that would be against their greatest rivals Leinster.

Zebo (25) has started three of the four defeats this month and he thinks the gap between the strongest and weakest teams is closing all the time.

The Irish and Lions winger will line up against plenty of his Ireland World Cup team-mates this Sunday at Thomond Park and he says he’s happy to park those friendships for 80 critical minutes of derby rugby.

“It’s one of the biggest rivalries in rugby. Collectively, obviously, when we’re in the Irish camp we’re all like brothers and friends but it’s the polar opposite when we’re with our provinces,” said Zebo.

“I think the win is massively important to each side. To lose to them in Thomond Park would be unacceptable and that would go along with four other unacceptable performances that we’ve had so we need to get the win this weekend.”


His Munster future remains hanging in the balance but he said he is unperturbed by the contract issue.

“I just want to make sure it’s the best choice for me whichever thing happens. It’s something I’ll take time with to decide. It’s still quite slow at the moment so there hasn’t been much change. I don’t want to be rushed into anything,” said Zebo.

Three-time Heineken Cup winners Leinster have lost all four of their Champions Cup pool games to date and have no chance of making the knock-out stages, while Munster’s hopes of a quarter-final spot depend on three huge games in the New Year.

Munster are still flying high in the Pro12 but their third-placed position is down to the positive start they made rather than the last two league outings which resulted in defeats to Connacht and Dragons.

Leinster have recovered from a poor start to the Pro12 that saw them lose two of their first four games, while their only away win this season came at Treviso.

“I think rugby as a whole is so much more competitive than it was in the past,” said Zebo. “I think everybody is capable of beating anybody these days.

I don’t think Leinster had a fall from grace — I think they’re a very successful team with great players and I’ve no doubt that they’ll bounce back….but it won’t be this weekend.

With just one try from his three Pro12 appearances this campaign, Zebo will be keen to play his part on Sunday, although he admits that his team were lacking accuracy in recent weeks which has contributed to their defeats.

“I think it’s being more clinical, and that little extra bit of accuracy. We’re making the linebreaks; we’re just a half a yard too slow or an offload is an inch too low.

“I think once these finer details get ironed out — whatever they may be — we’ll turn into a well-oiled machine.

“There’s a bit of bite at training. People are frustrated as you can imagine. I think the staff have showed enough of their frustration to the side and now it’s up to us to go out and fix that because we’re the ones out there on the pitch playing the games.”

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About the author:

John Fallon

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