Monday 21 May 2018

Peter O'Mahony leads the praise for 'something special' Simon Zebo

Simon Zebo of Munster following the Guinness PRO14 semi-final play-off match between Munster and Edinburgh at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Simon Zebo of Munster following the Guinness PRO14 semi-final play-off match between Munster and Edinburgh at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Munster coach Johann van Graan admits that Simon Zebo will be sorely missed after his moment of magic helped his side book a PRO14 semi-final date against Leinster in two weeks' time.

"Very much," said van Graan.

"I said inside in the dressing-room, we will miss his smile and his attitude. He is his own man but a fantastic squad and Munster man. He played well today, as a unit the back-three did well.

"That chip he made, to see it and then the pass was pretty special. In games, you need a moment of magic and we had a few."

Captain Peter O'Mahony said his fellow Corkman, who leaves for Racing Metro this summer, has "something special".

"What he has is something you are born with, you can't be taught that killer instinct. It's hard to replace. He brings that little extra something special, and today in a stalemate he makes the difference."

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Van Graan was relieved with the win but admits his side must improve before facing Leinster in the RDS in two weeks' time.

"We're glad it is over, it was a tough game with two hungry sides who wanted to win. We lost Stephen Archer early on and that made it tough for us because we had lost Brian Scott during the week.

"It's important for us to win a close game. We expected them to kick to us and with the breakdown we didn't want to give them a chance so we had to clear a lot of ball. We will need to improve."

Archer (bicep) was in a lot of pain when departing early while wing Andrew Conway suffered a collision but after returning from a HIA didn't return after half-time and the fitness of both men will be assessed this week.

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill claimed his side could have beaten Munster in Thomond Park after his side fell agonisingly short.

"It was a good contest, if we were more accurate we could have won. Ultimately, you get what you deserve.

"To push this side so close, have them defending for their lives, we should be proud. We're not in the same league as these sides.

"Munster are a very good side, they have a world-class nine who controls the game and experience that we don't have.

"It's a four-score game and we give them seven points from a lineout which has been good for us al year. We have to learn the lessons and that takes time.

"I'd much rather still be going to Dublin and not having to learn those lessons. We're no pushovers. Some good sides have come here and left with worse defeats."

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