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Tony Ward Hits Out At IRFU Over "Double Standards" Regarding Simon Zebo

Tony Ward Hits Out At IRFU Over "Double Standards" Regarding Simon Zebo
Mikey Traynor
By Mikey Traynor
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Over a week on from the news breaking that Simon Zebo will be leaving Munster at the end of the season, many still are upset with the fact that his decision to play club rugby outside of Ireland means that he can no longer pull on the green jersey.

Zebo was omitted from Joe Schmidt's squad for the Autumn internationals and admitted to Conor Murray that he knew his international career would be over if he left for France, but exceptions have been made in the past.

When Johnny Sexton made the switch to Racing 92 there was no question that he would be one of the first names on the list for a squad announcement, but despite Zebo's clear and obvious use to the Ireland camp he will have to watch on from France.


This does not please Tony Ward, who used his column in the Independent to criticise the double standards of the IRFU after Zebo made what he described as 'clearly the best decision for him and family at this point in his still-developing career'.

However, the decision to axe Zebo from the Ireland squad with immediate effect is a lot more difficult to stomach. It reeks of double standards.

Were it Tadhg Furlong or Conor Murray making that announcement would they be treated with such obvious disdain by the powers that be? I don't think so. Of course, I comprehend the contractual and practical difficulties in terms of national selection when a player decides to move abroad.

I don't agree with the IRFU stance but I do get where they are coming from. Rugby Union is still a relatively new kid on the professional block.

It is something that many Ireland and Munster fans have been upset with since the news emerged. Not least because Zebo will be playing his club rugby in Ireland until May, yet has been removed from the situation with immediate effect.

The IRFU has made exceptions before, and as Zebo is an exceptional talent it does seem unfair that he has been frozen out as he has. The official line is that younger talent will be given a chance in his absence, but you just have to hope we're not left rueing the loss of Zebo's creativity in any of our key games in the next year.

You can read Ward's take on Zebo's departure in full over on Independent.ie.

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