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Zebo brings something special to the table


Munster are delighted to have Simon Zebo back and fully fit

Munster are delighted to have Simon Zebo back and fully fit


Munster are delighted to have Simon Zebo back and fully fit

Facing into two trips to Wales in a six-day turnaround is a tough test for any team, but on the back of a pair of good wins and travelling with a squad high in self-belief, we can face into the week with confidence.

The manner in which we picked up our last two wins against Cardiff and Zebre, playing a very positive style of rugby, was satisfying.

It's what we have been working towards for some time and we've definitely seen the fruits of that work out on the field in the last month or so.

The team has been playing some very good, positive rugby. It is all pretty encouraging. Against Zebre we played some really attractive stuff, but we also made a few errors along the way.

There's two ways we can look at errors, though: we can criticise players for making them or we can say that guys are trying to make things happen.

Personally, I think the lads are really having a go, trying to express themselves as players and trying to get the maximum enjoyment from the game. That's what guys want to be doing, running and passing the ball to each other. We encourage the players to be inventive.

Mistakes are fine as long as we learn from them. They will happen, we know that, but the great thing about rugby is that you have 14 other guys there to cover you.

Against Zebre we also decided to play JJ Hanrahan at 10, with Ian Keatley alongside him at 12 and we were happy with the outcome.


JJ and Ian are two guys that have developed extremely well in the time that we have been here.

They are very good players, so you'd expect guys of that calibre to be able to interchange between 10 and 12, even though the demands are slightly different. It is a different option and we are just assessing everything going forward and seeing what is best suited for us.

Another guy to shine last week was Simon Zebo and we are just delighted that he is back playing and is fully fit. What he brings to the team on the field is plain for almost everybody to see. Personally, I think the fact that he is not considered good enough to be included in the Irish national team is surprising.

Granted, they are winning and it is tough to change a winning team, but Irish rugby must be in great shape if it can leave out a guy of his talents. He has been brilliant to work with, he works extremely hard and I just love his energy and his individuality as well, which I think is a bit special.

Every time he is involved it looks like something is going to happen. We are just delighted he is back fit and playing for us. He's just got to keep performing at this level and selections should take care of themselves following that.

Ahead of Sunday's trip to face the Ospreys we have looked at our first visit there, which didn't go as planned.

It was a difficult game, they were very strong up front and we didn't perform as well as we should have in all areas of the field. It was just a poor day out – one of a few we had last year.

But it was early on in the season and we were trying to get things in place.

We knew it wasn't going to happen overnight, but we go back there as a different team this year.

We are a different side physically, we are a different team mentally. Physically I have seen a massive shift in the guys since I arrived – we have witnessed a big improvement.

Most importantly, though, we are a side with a swagger now because we are comfortable on the field on the back of winning 18 out of 21 games.

That breeds confidence because you fall back on your good experiences and we've had a lot of them this year.

We have the utmost respect for this Ospreys team and the 75 points they put on Treviso last week showed the talent they have in their outfit. When was the last time someone put 75 points on Treviso?

But our guys are looking forward to the challenge. It's one thing going well at home, but going away looking for a win is a different challenge. Let's go and see if we can front up and put in the same kind of performance away from home.

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