Bowe's pain is Zebo's gain as Simon is called up to the Lions
IRELAND wing Simon Zebo will arrive in Australia today after a dramatic call up to the British and Irish Lions, after fellow Irish star Tommy Bowe broke a bone in his hand.
The Munster winger flew to Australia from Houston, Texas, last night, after receiving the call to join the tour as cover for Tommy Bowe 'Down Under'.
Bowe underwent surgery in Brisbane yesterday after breaking a bone in his hand during Saturday's game against the Queensland Reds at the Suncorp Stadium.
Interest in the Lions tour of Australia has now quadrupled in Ballintemple, Co Cork, with locals telling of their delight to see 22-year-old Zebo step up.
Eoghan Connolly, manager of sports bar The Venue, said that Zebo's call-up was the main topic of conversation among customers yesterday.
"It's just fantastic news, everyone's always talking about him and now we're very proud of him, even more so than usual."
The staff at Temple Inn Bar, where Zebo's sister Jessika previously worked, told the Irish Independent that "it'll be an unforgettable experience" for the player, who is a "very obliging young man and extremely popular" in the area.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said that the entire community was behind the young sporting star.
"It's huge for the area and everyone I've spoken to is just delighted he's going now, because we were surprised he didn't get called up initially.
"The Zebos would be hugely supported as a family here and Simon's very popular.
"He still visits all the schools and is always very happy to get involved, so he's a good fellow. We wish him all the best."
Zebo got the call from Lions staff member Guy Richardson, following Ireland's 15-12 win over the US Eagles over the weekend. "I'm absolutely over the moon," he said.
"It is the best news I could ever have dreamed of. As a professional (Irish) rugby player the ultimate goal is to be a British and Irish Lion. Hopefully I'll get the chance to do that if I get my cap. That is something I have to work towards now."