Wednesday 23 October 2019

Simon Zebo 'disappointed' by Ireland's lack of variety in attack against Russia

Racing 92 star Simon Zebo - a Paddy Power Rugby Ambassador and columnist for Paddy Power News - was unimpressed by Ireland's attack
Racing 92 star Simon Zebo - a Paddy Power Rugby Ambassador and columnist for Paddy Power News - was unimpressed by Ireland's attack
David Kelly

David Kelly

Exiled wing Simon Zebo said he was disappointed that "sloppy" Ireland didn’t add a it more variety in attack as they laboured to a 35-0 win against Russia earlier today to remain on course for a quarter-final spot.

But the former Munster man doesn’t see this latest Irish side breaking their glass ceiling on the evidence of the fitful display in Kobe.

"The important thing was to get the result and the bonus point," said the Racing 92 wing.

"The performance probably wasn't as good as we would have hoped. It was a little bit sloppy in terms of being, expansive in attack.

"Going into a quarter-final,  if we could perform like that again, I'd be a little bit nervous you know. So they need to rest up now and see if it improves."

Today’s contest matched the best in the world heading into Japan 2019 against the worst team in the competition but at times it was difficult to tell the difference.

"I thought maybe we’d  add a bit more variety in our attack. I know conditions are greasy and the ball is like a bar of soap," he said.

"But you look at New Zealand and even though you had the two Barretts knocking balls over the line they still put 60 points on a team. So yeah I would have hoped there was a bit more variety in attack. But there's enough time to get it right.

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"The players will definitely know they have to improve. The job is done. But the performance will need to get better if you are playing New Zealand or South Africa.

"The work needs to be done predominantly I'd say in attack. Just one out runners and kicking  wouldn't be enough to break these teams down so just going forward maybe be a little bit more expansive and I'd say we'd be in a good spot."

Zebo has backed former Munster colleague Tommy O’Donnell to slot straight into the squad should a rib injury force recent recruit Jordi Murphy into a hasty U-turn.

"I'd imagine would be fine. He's a very talented player. He's very intelligent as well. He'd be well able to fit straight into the system and any role he'd be given he'd grab with two hands.

"Tommy is a quality operator. It's very unfortunate for Jordi. I just hope it's not too serious. But there’s strength and depth in the backrow so they should be okay."

And Zebo said he has been impressed with the fleeting cameos from Connacht man Jack Carty.

Ireland's Garry Ringrose scores their fifth try in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool A win over Russia in Kobe. Photo: Reuters/Annegret Hilse
Ireland's Garry Ringrose scores their fifth try in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool A win over Russia in Kobe. Photo: Reuters/Annegret Hilse

"His kicking game has been quite good out of hand. He's had an ambition to play and try things which has been good," he said.

"A lot of it has been coming off for him which is great. Any time he's been given an opportunity he seems to have done well so yeah he brings a different energy and a different mind-set I think.

"Usually the game is open when he's trying those things. He's a very different ten to Johnny but he has his own strengths and he's been good."

Simon Zebo is a Paddy Power Rugby Ambassador and columnist with Paddy Power News (news.paddypower.com).

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