Friday 6 December 2019

Simon Zebo: Both sides will be going for blood tonight

Simon Zebo expects Treviso to be going for blood
Simon Zebo expects Treviso to be going for blood

John Fallon

Munster will be hoping that Simon Zebo can tonight turn on the form that netted them their only league win to date in Treviso.

Anthony Foley's men head to northern Italy hoping to get their season up and running after the disappointing home loss to Edinburgh.

But they will need to produce a big performance if they are to be victorious at Stadio Monigo, where they have lost three of their last four league games.

The only league win there came in February 2012 when Zebo, fresh from scoring a hat-trick in the Heineken Cup against Northampton Saints, blazed over for a couple of tries in a 35-14 success.

That victory saw them complete the double over Treviso that season, the only time they have managed it since the Italians joined the league.

The Italians hold the edge in Treviso, winning three of their four encounters with the Reds, starting with a 19-18 success in February 2011.

Munster gained revenge a year later when, aside from Zebo getting two of their four tries, Ronan O'Gara kicked 15 points in a man of the match performance. But Treviso have held the edge in the last two meetings there, scoring a 34-10 win - the biggest either of them have won by in their eight meetings - in February 2013 and backing it up six months later when they won 29-19.

The win by Treviso a year ago halted an early surge by Munster which had seen opening-round wins over Edinburgh and Zebre.

And tonight's game will be made more difficult after the late withdrawal of Paul O'Connell from the travelling party, due to personal reasons.

Zebo said that they know Treviso are a very difficult side to beat at Stadio Monigo and he has warned of a potential backlash from the 44-13 loss away to the Ospreys last weekend.

"They are going to be going in for blood as well because the Ospreys put a few tries past them. It looks like it is going to be a real physical battle because both sides need to remedy losses and we just hope we can come out on top," he said.

"Our record is not great there in the recent years, they have gotten a liking to beating us so we need to change that straight away. We owe them one definitely because we left the pitch last year a bit embarrassed."

The 24-year old, who has scored 27 tries in 67 appearances, said Munster are anxious to bounce back from last weekend.

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