Simon Zebo gives Andy Farrell better answer than any interview could provide 3 weeks ago

Simon Zebo gives Andy Farrell better answer than any interview could provide

MUNSTER 42-17 SHARKS

5 minutes, 44 seconds. That is all it took for Simon Zebo to announce him on his second coming at Munster.

Advertisement

Having returned from three seasons in France with Racing 92, the Cork native raced in a try from well inside his own half after Munster pressure had forced a turnover. He was not done yet, though.

Munster have been close with no cigar, over the past decade, and many of their fans will hope that a fit-again Joey Carbery and RG Snyman, the returning Zebo and their batch of young talents will be enough, when teamed up with old stagers, to get them some silverware.

Against Sharks, they endured a tough first 30 minutes against the South Africans before doing damage through their pack.

Zebo got the party started [see below] and had 112 metres gained off four carries in the first half alone:

Zebo has been out of the international rugby picture since 2017. Joe Schmidt deigned not to select him for the 2018 Six Nations after his Racing move was announced. Back in Ireland now, Schmidt's replacement, Andy Farrell opted to leave him out of a 50-player group brought in for a one-day training camp.

Advertisement

Former Leinster and Ireland fullback Rob Kearney was not overly shocked, he said, by Zebo missing out on that camp, but expected him to do his talking on the pitch.

"If he goes well in the first few months of this season, well then he might be in the reckoning."

Zebo certainly provided the perfect response to that Farrell omission with a superb comeback game for Munster. He was quieter in the second half - making four more carries - but he still found time for another score, late in the piece.

Craig Casey got Munster's second try after a sniping run and step inside, over on the right wing. Gavin Coombes then powered over from close range to make it 20-3 at the break.

Another Coombes try, from close in, made it 27-3, and secured the bonus point. On 57 minutes, though, a floated Joey Carbery pass to Dan Goggin was picked off by Sharks scrumhalf Boeta Chamberlain to give them an intercept try that kept them in the fight.

Advertisement

Munster fans were soon raucous enough as Snyman returned after a long-term knee injury and sub Ben Healy nailed a penalty from inside his own half. The small contingent of Sharks fans were cheering, too, when Yaw Penxe was put away, down the left wing, and cut inside Mike Haley to dive over.

The killer blow from Munster, though, arrived on 77 minutes when sub flanker Chris Cloete crashed over from close range after a sustained spell of pressure.

Just when the Sharks thought their long night was over, Munster cracked out the move of the night, sweeping right to left, before Zebo finished off a lovely Dan Goggin grubber.

Elsewhere on the night, Leinster secured a bonus point victory over the Bulls at Dublin's Aviva Stadium. Josh van der Flier grabbed an excellent try to get Leinster motoring and the try-scoring bonus was secured, with 10 minutes to go, when Ross Byrne finished off a fine team try.

Advertisement

Our Man of the Match: Gavin Coombes (Munster)


ย