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Andy Farrell gives his verdict on Simon Zebo since his return to Ireland

Zebo

Andy Farrell has praised Simon Zebo’s performances for Munster since his return to Ireland, noting the “touches of class” the Cork man has come up with.

Zebo last played for Ireland in the summer of 2017, but his absence from international rugby looks set to end next month, after he was named in his country’s squad for the autumn internationals.

The 31-year-old has only started two games for Munster this season, but he has clearly done enough to impress Ireland head coach Farrell in a short space of time.

Andy Farrell on Simon Zebo.

Farrell was speaking at a press conference ahead of Ireland’s three tests next month and admitted that he has been impressed by Zebo, while also explaining why he left him out of a pre-season training camp.

“He hadn’t even touched a ball under pressure in the summer so he obviously needed to get back up and running again,” Farrell explained.

“The couple of games he’s played for Munster, we’ve seen some touches of class. We all know that at international level it always pays to have someone with Simon’s ability who can play in a couple of different positions.”

Ireland’s options in the back three.

Farrell has plenty to ponder in regards to selecting his back three, as he has a healthy blend of youth and experience available to him, while there are no obvious choices to make on the wing.

Ireland and Munster stalwart Keith Earls is by far the most experienced back three player included in the squad, while two wingers – James Lowe and Robert Baloucoune – share just six caps between them.

Hugo Keenan will be expected to retain his position as Ireland’s first-choice full back, but Zebo will certainly be challenging the Leinster man for the 15 jersey, although both men can also play as wingers.

Jacob Stockdale has missed out as a result of injury, but Ireland certainly aren’t short of test-level wingers, in a position that isn’t typically an area of strength for Irish teams.

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