Game Over Ball Burst: Fans need someone to blame for Simon Zebo departure

Donn O'Sullivan

Reporter:

Donn O'Sullivan

Email:

donn.osullivan@limerickleader.ie

Munster's Simon zebo

Simon Zebo who is set to leave Munster at the end of this season

JOE Schmidt, David Nucifora, Philip Browne, the entire IRFU, Munster Rugby, Garrett Fitzgerald, Jamie Heaslip, Johnny Sexton, Donnacha Ryan and Ronan O'Gara.

Just some of the people being blamed this week for the departure of Simon Zebo from Munster to France.

This is a natural process for Irish sports fans. We need someone to blame. This is particularly the case in professional rugby, where fans have yet to really understand that the game is fully professional now for over 20 years.

When Conor Murray, Simon Zebo, Paul O'Connell etc all line out in red, fans are forgiven for thinking that these lads are out there for free. People will call the French and English teams ‘mercenaries’ forgetting that every player under the IRFU umbrella is playing the game for a wage.

It's hard when someone rejects you or your favourite team. It creates a vacuum where you know you are angry, but you don't know who to be angry with.

Simon Zebo, for the record, is not a mercenary. Nor is Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Matt Giteau or whomever you can think of that has moved clubs or indeed countries in recent times.

These are professional players and they are entitled to earn as much as they can, for as often as they can. I know the analogy of ‘if someone offered you more money for your job etc etc’ doesn't exactly fit well, but the rules of economics do. Supply and demand.

Simon Zebo is in demand. The flamboyant winger had a price tag and the highest bidder won. Munster made their offer and it just did not match what France had to offer. Simple really.

Yes, there is hurt amongst fans and no one who supports Munster rugby wants to see their top players leave, but such is the nature of professional sport.

This coming May will mark the 1oth season since Munster won the Champions Cup and taking into account it is five seasons since a Pro14 side even made the final of the competition it looks as if once more, trophies and players will follow the biggest budget teams.

Soccer, professional a hell of a long time more than rugby, is already at the level where star power and the ‘X’ factor are more valuable to clubs than supporters in seats.

With TV money increasing year on year, the money-men don't really care who is on the pitch as long as the game goes ahead, on their schedule.

Yes, that will leave clubs like Munster behind. Yes, it will continue to make the Top14 and Aviva Premiership the top dogs with the Six Nations and yes, that gives us more people to blame, but where will that get us?