Joe Schmidt Explains Why He Didn’t Pick Simon Zebo For The Six Nations
Joe Schmidt claims Simon Zebo was overlooked in his Six Nations squad for the opening two rounds against France and Italy, purely based on his current form.
The Ireland boss claims Zebo hasn’t been completely cast out as a result of his impending move to France, and that he remains in contention for the latter rounds of the competition.
Speaking at today’s Six Nations launch, as first reported by Murray Kinsella in The42, Schmidt says Zebo didn’t have a great game by his own standards against Racing 92 a couple of weeks ago.
“Yeah, he is in consideration like anyone else who’s currently playing in Ireland,” said Schmidt at the Six Nations launch in London.
“I answered a question earlier about the balance we’ve got in our back three and we felt that Jordan was probably playing at a level that was appropriate to select him.
“I think Simon is great value to have in the squad and he’s got an irresistible charm about him, he’s always smiling and his positivity is great. But by his own standards, he didn’t have a great day in Paris [against Racing 92] a couple of weeks ago.
“There was some wayward passing, some turnovers that he’d look back at and be frustrated with himself. It’s crucial at the time of selection that we know guys are in good form.
“There’s a bit of time during the Six Nations with the PRO14 games that he can still strike a claim.”
Jordan Larmour looks set to fill the exciting boots of Zebo, with both players very similar in style. Both can play on the wing or at fullback, and bring a certain x-factor with them.
Schmidt says he is excited about Larmour and his potential, and reckons there could be an opportunity to give the youngster a start during the Six Nations.
“I saw him when he was fresh out of St. Andrew’s College and he’s been into our camp before – the first time was probably 16 months ago during the November series,” said Schmidt of Larmour.
“So we’ve spent a bit of time having Jordan in and to get him in permanently now is to potentially accelerate his progress into the matchday squad and into, potentially, a starting 15.
“The things that we’ve seen in Jordan… obviously, the most visible things are his ability to accelerate, to change direction, but he’s a skilful young man as well. He’s effective in the air, his passing skills are good, he fully commits to the physical aspects of the game as well.
“He’s a really good kid, Jordan, so that’s always a compelling factor as well.”
Do you think Zebo’s current form doesn’t warrant a spot in the Ireland squad? Do you believe what Schmidt said?
Sound off in the comments.