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Ryan expects Zebo to reach heights on Paris stage

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34-year-old Ryan is showing no signs of slowing down as he begins his second season with Racing 92. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

34-year-old Ryan is showing no signs of slowing down as he begins his second season with Racing 92. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

34-year-old Ryan is showing no signs of slowing down as he begins his second season with Racing 92. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The arrival of Simon Zebo and Paul O'Connell in Paris this summer may have grabbed the most attention but another ex-Irish international Donnacha Ryan is determined to make a mark in France this season.

The 34-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down as he begins his second season with Racing 92, who opened their campaign with a 25-9 win away to Toulon. On Sunday, they will entertain Clermont Auvergne at the U Arena in Paris.

And Ryan, who has Zebo to keep him company at Racing with O'Connell and another ex-Munster player Mike Prendergast on the coaching ticket with their Parisian rivals Stade Francais, said he is in flying form as he heads into his 15th season of senior rugby.

"The legs are going good and I feel a lot stronger this year. I did a lot of work with Edel Fanning in Santry Sports Clinic during the off-season, got some fantastic rehab work done with her on a shoulder issue along with Eanna Falvey and Colm Fuller there.

Delayed

"It has left me feeling really good heading into the new season. As it stands this is my last year with Racing so we will see how it goes. The body feels good, I have had a great pre-season."

He moved to Paris over a year ago but a neck injury delayed his debut until December but he then became an ever-present as Racing reached the Champions Cup final, only to go down to Leinster with Ryan suffering a shoulder injury which forced him off.

But now having fully recovered he is keen to push on and is delighted to have Zebo for company this season - saying the Corkman has been an instant hit in Paris.

"First, his positive attitude is awesome, everybody in the squad warmed to him right away so he's really settled in quickly.

"The language is not as big a difficulty for him, the coaches love him as well and he's brought a lot into the group. He seems to be enjoying Paris as well and he will make a big contribution on the field. It's great to have another Munster man alongside you," added Ryan.

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