French possess fear factor says Zebo

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:13
Large simon zebo ireland 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The France rugby team still have the ability to strike fear into their opponents, Ireland wing Simon Zebo admitted ahead of their much-anticipated Six Nations clash on Saturday.

Zebo, born in Ireland to an Irish mother and a French father hailing from thse Caribbean island of Martinique, warned that should the French side turn up in a positive frame of mind then it could make for a helter-skelter game.

"I still think there is a bit of a fear factor around playing France because if they show up and turn the switch on, which they can do, they can beat anyone and cause havoc against any defence so, yeah, the fear factor is definitely still there," said the 26-year-old Zebo, who has only faced France once before in his previous 30 Test appearances.

"But if we focus on ourselves and give our best performance for 80 minutes I think we've shown against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and France in the past, we can stick it with any team."

Zebo, whose father was a top class 800 metres runner and would have competed for France at the 1976 Olympics, but for breaking his leg during his military service, admits there will be some blue shirts hanging in his house's cupboards this weekend as his French part of the family come over.

However, he insists there are no divided loyalties on his part and is clear about which of the matches in the Six Nations counts for him the most being an Irishman.

"England would be, there's a big history being Irish," said Zebo.

"For me personally with the family side of things, it would be a big game, playing the French."

Zebo, who has scored just one of his seven Test tries in the Six Nations, admits a move to France would be tempting and on occasions his inconsistency and individuality has not been pleasing to Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who prizes a collective approach above all else.

Indeed Zebo's agent was at one point in contact with Toulouse when France's present head coach Guy Noves was in charge of the club but nothing came of it and he stayed at Munster.    

"I'd be quite a laid-back type of fella and open to anything really," said Zebo.

"I'd say it would be different for each individual. 

"At some stage I will definitely go, it's going to happen, it's just a matter of when.

"I'll play ProD2 if I have to.

"I have a lot of French family over in France. I love the lifestyle over there and playing rugby over there at some point in my life would be something I would like to experience.

"It's not many jobs you get the opportunity to change to a different country."

Zebo, who says for the moment he is dedicated to Munster, concedes his choice of clubs in the Top 14 could be limited as several have employed an increasingly 10-man game with precious few scraps for the two wings and the fullback.

"There probably has been a change. It probably depends on which club you go to, I suppose," said Zebo.

"You could be lucky or unlucky with the style of rugby you get. 

"It's a different lifestyle, a different experience.

"Rugby is such a short career and I love Munster so much but at the same time, at some stage, eventually, I could be 40 before I decide to go, You never know!"

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 01 December 2017
Kings v Edinburgh 17h15 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 33 | 13
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 31 | 17
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 35 | 27
London Irish v Bath 18 | 22
Sat, 18 November 2017
France v South Africa 17 | 18
Scotland v New Zealand 17 | 22
Ireland v Fiji 23 | 20
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 40 | 10
England v Australia 30 | 6
Wales v Georgia 13 | 6
Italy v Argentina 15 | 31
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 30 | 15
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
SIX NATIONS
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Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0
France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0