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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0