Andrew Trimble: Simon Zebo was ‘too talented’ for Joe Schmidt

Former Ireland international Andrew Trimble believes that Simon Zebo was “too talented” to fit into Joe Schmidt’s gameplan.

Zebo won 35 caps for Ireland, most of those under Schmidt, before he joined Racing 92 and became ineligible for Ireland selection.

The former Munster player has spoken in the past about how he would like to still play for Ireland, but has also expressed annoyance at how Schmidt wanted Ireland to play.

“In attack, we just lack the freedom to express ourselves. Joe has his structures and systems and the way he wants to play and put pressure on teams.

“That’s great and it works really well. Sometimes that something different would go a long way especially with the talent we have in the group.

“The players are definitely there. If they’re given the licence they can be as good as any backs running on to front foot ball,” Zebo told Paddy Power.

‘He’s got too much X-Factor’

Former Ireland teammate Trimble felt that Schmidt’s structured way of playing rugby suited someone like himself, but understood why a flashy player like Zebo wouldn’t enjoy the same system.

“I remember slagging Simon Zebo in the past about how the Schmidt era didn’t really fit with Zebo, I always said to him it’s because he’s too talented. He’s got too much of an X-Factor, whereas for me, it was perfect.

“I felt like for someone like me it just made it accessible. I thought I can get to that level of performance, I can do all those basics really, really well and I can leave some of the other stuff to someone else,” Trimble told BBC Sport.

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