Zebo wants to break free from Schmidt's 'shackles'

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 10:30
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The latest Simon Zebo comments emerging from France have put even more distance between him and Joe Schmidt's Ireland team, although the Cork native still apparently wants to be involved in Ireland Six Nations plans.

Zebo was officially unveiled by Racing 92 last week, although it would appear that the Munster man is already effectively in exile from the national team, having not been included in Ireland's November Tests.

Zebo comments to L'Equippe won't do much to sweeten what is an increasingly sour relationship between him and the IRFU.

"I would not understand if there's one rule for the others and another for me," he told the French newspaper. "I'm fully eligible because I'm a Munster player until June. I hope I'll be called up for the Six Nations."

What's more, Zebo claims that he and Schmidt have openly discussed his style of play and how it fits with Schmidt's more structured approach to rugby.

"I said to him that I couldn't play in such a rigid structure. I can't play like that.

"With Munster, I'm free to try things, to play the moves that I see. I don't have any shackles."

It had been widely speculated long before his Munster exit that Zebo's free-form approach to attacking rugby wasn't going to fit with the within the rigid mechanics of Schmidt's approach to the game, and his comments appear to back up the theory.

"Joe is a super coach who has had great success with Ireland. We already talked about it face-to-face. I said to him that I couldn't play in such a rigid structure. I can't play like that.

"Winning is important but for me it's also important to do it in a certain way. But if you ask me to pick between losing in style or winning ugly, I'd choose the second option."

According to SportLocker, Munster had offered Zebo a contract worth €350 000 and when you take into account match fees and different bonuses this figure rises to somewhere in the region of €400 000. It was widely reported in October that Racing 92 offered Zebo a contract worth €700 000, as well as accommodation and a car.

By Ian Cameron, Rugbypass

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