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Foley hails Zebo's fight to reclaim Ireland spot


Anthony Foley has praised Simon Zebo's determination

Anthony Foley has praised Simon Zebo's determination

Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Anthony Foley has praised Simon Zebo's determination

Munster coach Anthony Foley has praised the way Simon Zebo has fought 'tooth and nail' to force his way into Joe Schmidt's World Cup plans.

Foley has seen at first hand the huge effort that Keith Earls and Donnacha Ryan, both of whom only made their first appearances under Schmidt in August, have made to recover from long-term injuries to claim their place in the World Cup squad.

And he said that Zebo, who did not feature in the 2014 Six Nations triumph and who was dropped from the squad for the pivotal last game against Scotland in this year's tournament, has also shown great resilience to make the grade and feature so prominently in Sunday's win over Romania at Wembley.

"Simon Zebo, what he had to do for long periods of time to get himself into the squad and cement himself in the squad, fight tooth and nail to get in there," said Foley.

"These lads have done really well and it's great to see that on an occasion like that they stepped up with those performances, Zebo's try was the greatest Irish try never to be scored, but we see that most days here when he trains with us.

"He has all the skills, he has the ability and it's great to see it on the world stage again."

Former Ireland No 8 Foley believes that it has been a superb World Cup, not just for Ireland.

"The Tier Two nations are really standing up and that's adding to a really exciting competition."

And he said that there is no reason this can't be the best World Cup ever for Ireland after their impressive start to the tournament.

"It wasn't long ago that Ireland were ranked No 2 in the world so that should state that they get to the final four, a lot is dependent on how they play and perform against Italy," he said.

However, Foley's main priority this week is to get his side ready for their first competitive game of the season at Thomond Park against Glasgow Warriors on Friday (6.0).

Irish Independent