Saturday 21 July 2018

'Hopefully, Racing beat Leinster and it makes them a bit sore' - Zebo

Simon Zebo of Munster is applauded off the field by teammates as he says farewell to the Thomond Park after Munster’s victory over Edinburgh on Saturday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Simon Zebo of Munster is applauded off the field by teammates as he says farewell to the Thomond Park after Munster’s victory over Edinburgh on Saturday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Farewell to Limerick, then, Simon Zebo. And Ireland, too, a rugby nation who embraced but never fully appreciated him.

They shall not forget neither his smile nor style but how long will they linger in the memory until the day he inevitably returns?

On a day when even his unique strain of individualism was dragged down to the level of a fitful contest, it was still perhaps inevitable that Zebo would ignite the occasion with a touch of class to raise the spirits from deflation to elation.

In a way it summed him up, the true adherence to being more difficult than all the rest, at once an enigmatic trait that endeared him to so many, even if its charming wonder mystifyingly eluded others who must indeed enjoy their dull existence.

His creation of Keith Earls' try in the third quarter offered momentary ambition and expression on a day when it was sorely lacking elsewhere.

Ironically, his boot would force the issue but his midfield dink differed from all that preceded and followed it; his collection and then sweeping pass to Earls completing a joyous sweep of individual invention.

Also in keeping with the game, the move started with an error.

"Conor Murray threw me a bad pass, he meant to hit Billy Holland," Zebo explained. "I saw the referee preparing to blow the whistle.

"I thought I'd try one of the tricks and luckily it came off and Keith Earls is always on the end of things. It was a great moment and thankfully I could contribute something on my last day. Big moments win big games.

"Our attack will need to improve if we want to beat Leinster. The attack will win this game because neither defence will give an inch. Hopefully, Racing beat them and make them a bit sore!

"I couldn't do it justice to say how much I might miss it. Getting the opportunity to represent your home province is special and I've been blessed to do it for as long as I have been.

"It's difficult to come to the realisation this could be the end for a while, it was good to finish on a high and I'll never forget this day. Nothing compares to this place, it's upsetting to be leaving it behind but that's life. Hopefully it's not the end."

Irish Independent

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