'There were players in this situation before that were called up' - Simon Zebo hopeful of Six Nations recall
Munster full-back Simon Zebo is still hopeful of a call up to Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad for next month's Six Nations.
Zebo, who will move to Racing 92 next season, was overlooked for last year's November internationals as Schmidt continues to uphold the IRFU's policy of only selecting domestic based players.
Johnny Sexton, Tommy Bowe and Geordan Murphy have all played for the national team before whilst playing their club rugby overseas, and while Zebo acknowledges their selection, he also highlights that he is a Munster player until the end of the season.
“It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it is,” Zebo told French sports daily L'Équipe.
“There were players in this situation before me and they continued to be called up for Ireland.
“I would not understand if there’s one rule for the others and another for me. I’m fully eligible because I’m a Munster player until June. I hope I’ll be called up for the Six Nations.”
Schmidt said in November that there is no official rule in place with regards to his selection policy, but he did acknowledge that, as coaches, they have a responsibility to the provinces, and to the rugby public, to try to keep players in Ireland as best as they can.
“The world is always changing, so you’ve got to be always looking to adapt and there’s never actually been a rule, so the flexibility is always there,” said Schmidt.
“And I know it’s imperfect, and I was asked earlier would Simon be in the mix. Of course he would be because he was in the forefront of our thinking.
“But he’s moved to the periphery. But he’s still there and my conversation with Simon was that, ‘You keep playing and keep yourself in the right shape, and there’s another squad to be named at the end of January that doesn’t necessarily discount you’.
“So the doors are more open than people think but we’ve got a responsibility to the provinces that we take really seriously, and to the rugby public, to try to keep the people here as best we can.”