'I didn't expect it to be so quick or so blunt' - Simon Zebo on being dropped from Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad
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.
Donal Lenihan interviews Simon Zebo: "I'm going to make sure I do my best to help Racing and get picked for that World Cup in 2019 - if not, then 2023!" pic.twitter.com/ltPD4oNPyX— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) May 21, 2018
"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."