Munster Rugby take on Glasgow as Simon Zebo begins long goodbye

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Munster Rugby take on Glasgow as Simon Zebo begins long goodbye

Simon Zebo - Who will play his last game in Cork on Friday night

SIMON Zebo admits Friday night’s Conference A top-of-the-table Guinness Pro14 clash with Glasgow Warriors will be tinged with sadness for him.

Zebo, who swaps Munster for Racing 92 next summer, is set to make his final appearance for the province in Cork at Musgrave Park, 7pm (Live on Sky Sports).

Zebo admitted that his decision to switch to Paris is likely to hit home for him at full-time on Friday.

Zebo said: “​It’ll be definitely sad. It’ll probably start to hit home when the final whistle goes a little bit, how the days are ticking and counting down unfortunately.

“Hopefully we can end it with a win, at least I will have a smile on my face if we win. But if we lose it will be a bit of a double whammy. That’s something I don’t want. I'll just do what I have been doing all season.”

Zebo hasn’t featured for Ireland since announcing his decision to move to the Top 14.

The full-back insists watching Ireland’s progress through the 6 Nations Championship from a distance hasn’t been as bad as he envisaged.

Zebo said: “It has been okay. I have had the experience of sitting on my sofa in the November series. It hasn’t been as bad as I would have thought.

“Obviously, you would love to be representing your country and running out with the lads. And giving it socks during the Six Nations because they are really special games.

“I have come to terms with my decision and what comes with it as of now. I just wish all of the lads up there (in Ireland camp) the best. You never know what could happen in the future.”

Zebo is not giving up on the possibility of playing for Ireland in the future.

“Potentially yeah. I am still young enough, it’s not like I will be coming back, if I did decide to come back, at 33 or 34.

“I am still only 27, so if I do come back then I would have no doubt that if I am playing well that I would have a chance.”

Asked if he felt he would have the opportunity to play for Ireland while plying his trade in France with Racing, Zebo said: “I would imagine not, to be honest. I am here now and playing now, and I am not involved.

“If I was abroad I would imagine there would be an even slimmer chance of me playing. I will get my experience. Rugby is a very short career. Playing in France is always something I wanted to do from day one.

”I will get my life experience. I will get my rugby experience and one day I might take it back here with me and see out my days with Munster.”

Munster will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing weekend defeat to Cardiff Blues when they host Glasgow on Friday.

Zebo said of Glasgow: “They are in form and they have so many players missing with Scotland. It just shows the strength and depth that they have as a squad. They are going to be a really tough team to play against.” 

The rivalry between Munster and Glasgow has intensified in recent seasons, with a degree of needle coming into their contests.

Zebo said: “They are going to want to come here and get one back on us. We have enjoyed the encounters. They have always been really physical. There is a bit of a rivalry there definitely.

“To go out and get another one would be great. It’s essential this weekend on the back of a poor performance.”

Munster can expect a bumper attendance at Musgrave Park on Friday as Leesiders turn out to bid farewell to Zebo.

Zebo’s memories of the venue go back to his school days with PBC.

“My memories definitely go back to school days when we used to play there quite a lot, Back to Pres’ versus Christians games in the Schools Cup.

“They would have been very big on the schedule for us. We have had a lot of great memories there, especially as a schoolboy. That’s where I started.

“We won a Senior Schools Cup final there in 2007. We beat Christians in the final which made it even sweeter. And I scored the best schools try ever scored there!

“​Peter O’Mahony was on our team. He was captain. Scott Deasy played too. There were a lot of fellas who would have played in the academy and stuff, and would have been sub-academy.

“Me and Pete and Scott who went into the professional game after. John Ryan (Munster prop) was playing with CBC that day. I let him know about that all of the time! 

“He was actually on the pitch when I ran past him (when scoring his try). It was actually twice I ran past him! I let him know about it as much as possible.”