Monday 10 December 2018

'I didn't expect it to be so quick or so blunt' - Simon Zebo on being dropped from Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad

18 March 2017; Simon Zebo of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium in Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
18 March 2017; Simon Zebo of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium in Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Simon Zebo has opened up on being dropped from the Ireland squad earlier this season, saying he was surprised that Joe Schmidt dispensed with his services so soon after he announced his move to France.

The Munster star will join Racing 92 over the summer, with the announcement of his departure last October quickly followed by his omission from the Ireland squad for the November internationals.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said that his decision was down to Zebo's form, but it is thought that the IRFU policy of selecting Irish-based players was a big factor.

Ahead of his Munster departure, Zebo sat down with Donal Lenihan on RTE's Against the Head and revealed his surprise at being dropped from the Ireland squad during the season.

"I didn't expect it to be so quick or so blunt," he said.

"I wouldn't be bitter or anything, the squad have done really well. I wish everyone there all the best and I would have obviously loved to have been involved in the Six Nations or the November series. You have to accept that some decisions have consequences and that is the way it had to go for me."

Zebo was also omitted from the starting line-up for Munster's Champions Cup semi-final against Racing in April, with the 28-year-old telling Lenihan that he was similarly taken aback by Johann van Graan's decision.

"I was shocked really, but you can't be too selfish in your thinking and do what's best for the team," he said.

"For me that was coming off the bench but in hindsight I would have loved to have played the full 80."

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