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Simon Zebo should be in Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad - Tommy Bowe

Nominally exiled from Joe Schmidt's Irish rugby squad, Tommy Bowe has nevertheless stated his bel...


Simon Zebo should be in Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad - Tommy Bowe

Nominally exiled from Joe Schmidt's Irish rugby squad, Tommy Bowe has nevertheless stated his belief that Simon Zebo should be among those players selected for upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Completing the back-3 of OTB AM's Irish Rugby Depth Chart this morning, Bowe placed the Racing 92 man only marginally behind his top-pick for full-back, Rob Kearney.

"He has incredible X-factor," Bowe explained on OTB AM this morning.

Conceding that the former Munster man seems to be enjoying life on and off the pitch in Paris, Bowe nevertheless singled Zebo out as an ideal, experienced replacement for Kearney were the Leinster man to find himself ruled out of an important World Cup clash.


Simon Zebo

"We need a full-back who has played that position," Bowe stated whilst reiterating his belief that substituting in an inexperienced replacement may not be overly effective.

"You're talking about a depth chart, [Zebo] is going to be 2nd or 3rd on your list."

With Kearney a certain starter if fit ("Joe Schmidt loves him"), Bowe remains cautiously concerned about what would occur if he was absent, for whatever reason.

With only four full-backs likely to travel to Japan in Schmidt's side, Bowe opted to place Mike Haley as unlucky #5 on his list. However, he did concede that irrespective of how highly he rated Simon Zebo, Bowe doesn't expect the Racing man to travel to the 2019 World Cup.

Speaking of Ireland's decision not to consider for international selection those players playing beyond the four Irish provinces, Bowe stated: "I think you have to respect the rules that Ireland have put in there, and it's showing that we're able to do without players that are going abroad."


Simon Zebo

There was little doubt in Bowe's mind when it came to Ireland's choices on the wing; Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls the inevitable choices.

Looking at his fellow Ulster man Stockdale, Bowe has been mightily impressed with the form this 22-year-old has been displaying.

"With the form that he's been in," Bowe explained, "he could be up there with World Player of the year."

"He just seems to be finding his feet and getting better and better."

With the Munster man Earls, Bowe admits that he has probably not displayed the kind of form that was evident last season. Yet, he remains a fierce prospect.

Beyond those two, the former Irish international Bowe singled out Jordan Larmour as a victim of Leinster's tendency to readily rotate. Whereas by comparison, Ulster's Will Addison has played himself into contention appearing "week by week by week" for the Irish province.

Careful to point out that we're still eight-months shy of the Rugby World Cup in question, Bowe nevertheless expects the like of Stockdale, particularly, to keep improving in the mean-time.

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Irish Rugby Joe Schmidt Racing 92 Simon Zebo Tommy Bowe