Andrew Trimble On Why Simon Zebo Didn’t Quite “Fit” The Joe Schmidt Era

X-factor.

Whether you like him or not there’s absolutely no denying that Simon Zebo is an incredibly talented rugby player –and his try-scoring record ain’t half bad either. But the former Munster fullback, who now plies his trade in France, has always struggled to impress former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt.

While it’s understandable he’s been overlooked since he left Ireland and joined Racing 92 in the Top 14 – even when he was here, he generally struggled to nail down his spot in the Ireland team.

Schmidt rarely deployed him at his favoured position of fullback and when possible, tended to select players that were more inclined to stick to his system and follow his infamous rigid structure.

Former Ulster winger Andrew Trimble was regular under Schmidt before he retired, and he reckons Zebo was overlooked more often than not because he was simply “too talented.”

“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,” Trimble told BBC Sport.

“He’s got too much of an X-Factor, whereas 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.”

Hopefully, new head coach Andy Farrell is more of a fan.