Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Simon Zebo could make the Ireland bench if he was fitter | Matt Williams

Simon Zebo can still make an impact for Ireland, former Leinster and Scotland coach Matt Williams...

Simon Zebo can still make an impact for Ireland, former Leinster and Scotland coach Matt Williams tells Joe Molloy on Wednesday Night Rugby.

Munster are entering a critical phase this season. Johann Van Grann points out that his side won 80% of their games last season, but Munster is a place that demands trophies.

Former Leinster and Scotland coach Matt Williams believes that Munster have lacked the finishers to compete with the best teams in Europe over recent seasons.

“Leinster are definitely still out in front," Williams said.

"Munster chasing, a quality Munster side but not there yet...just probably lacking a few quality finishers to take on the Toulouses and the La Rochelles and maybe the top end of the English Premiership.

"Munster will be improving. How much they improve I'm not sure.”

Naturally, the conversation then turned to the return of Simon Zebo.

At 31 years of age, Zebo is past his prime but he's far from finished. He still has the talent to be a top-tier fullback/winger in European competition. Williams believes he can be a decisive figure for Munster and Ireland but he needs to improve his conditioning first.

“Simon, I'm a great fan," he insisted. I'm a great supporter of him. I've really enjoyed his attitude to rugby and life.

"It's going to depend on his conditioning. I think Simon at the end of his time at Racing, he might have felt he was out of the team but he certainly wasn't in the best shape he could have been in.

"If he comes back and he really dedicates himself he could force his way into the national squad. I think he'd be a brilliant bench player at this stage. He can cover so many positions and he's got an x-factor.

"People love watching him play. I certainly do.

"If he can get himself mentally dedicated, and I'm not suggesting in any way he's not trying, Simon gives 100% every time he walks on the field, but if he can get in peak physical condition, especially when you're late in your career, that's so crucial. I think he could force his way back in.”

"Don't listen to a word that man says" | Matt Williams on Eddie Jones.


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IRFU Ireland Matt Williams Munster Racing 92 Rugby Simon Zebo