Friday 20 July 2018

'I don't think he enjoys it in camp' - Luke Fitzgerald offers interesting reason for Simon Zebo's France move

9 February 2017; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt speaks to Simon Zebo during squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
9 February 2017; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt speaks to Simon Zebo during squad training at Carton House in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The rigid nature of Irish camp could have contributed to Simon Zebo's decision to leave Munster at the end of the season to play in France, according to Luke Fitzgerald.

It was confirmed that the talented back was moving ahead of last month's November internationals, with Ireland boss Joe Schmidt opting to leave Zebo out of his squad as a result.

Schmidt has since left the door slightly ajar for a Six Nations recall, and Zebo spoke about the possibility of playing for Ireland again this season after turning in a scintillating display in the Champions Cup win over Leicester last Saturday.

However, speaking on The Left Wing this week, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, Fitzgerald said he can't see an Ireland return on the cards.

Schmidt has achieved huge success with the Irish team, but Fitzgerald thinks that his famously detailed nature doesn't mesh well with Zebo's more chilled personality.

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"He is a free spirit. I can't see him coming back," Fitzgerald said.

"I think the tightness of Joe probably doesn't suit him. I'll be honest, from being in camp, it's difficult for him in there. He is relaxed, he is a relaxed guy. Joe is not. Joe is the complete opposite. He is looking at every single thing you do. Zebo is not. He is a free spirit.

"I don't think he enjoys it in there, I don't think he enjoys it," Fitzgerald continued.

"That would be my honest read on it. I wouldn't say he enjoys it in camp. He is on everything you do. He is brilliant at it. That is the strength of Joe, he is brilliant on the details. That wouldn't be Simon's strength. Simon is a flair guy. He is a guy with brilliant handling, he can come up with an offload. He is high risk, that is probably why it took Joe so long to say, he fits my eye now.

"His rucking technique as well, Joe would be on that. Because he is so important for Munster, he probably doesn't get grief on that stuff all the time, but he would in Irish camp."

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Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

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