“It’s A Cool Subplot” – Conor Murray Looking Forward To Facing Pal Simon Zebo This Weekend
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Former Munster fullback Simon Zebo makes his return to Thomond Park this weekend, over a year since leaving his boyhood club for an adventure in France with Racing 92.
Zebo has excelled in France, working alongside some of the best backs in the world. But it wasn’t that long ago himself and Conor Murray were absolutely tearing it up for Munster and Ireland.
The two are good friends off the pitch and this was clearly reflected in the way they played together, with Zebo ending up crossing the whitewash time and time again as a result of some great link-up play with Murray.
But this weekend Murray’s focus will be on stopping Zebo from scoring – not assisting him. But at the same time he’s looking forward to the occassion and the “cool subplot” of Zebo playing his first game in Limerick since leaving for Paris,
“I’d say he’s looking forward to coming home to Thomond Park, performing well and marking the occasion,” Murray told us.
“It’s a cool subplot. It’ll create a bit of chat and atmosphere.
“But take that out of it, come Saturday, 5.15 pm, European rugby in Thomond is something we all love playing in and it’s going to be a great occasion.
“You saw last week [Racing] were really impressive with their pack and their backline. Really, really impressive. Zeebs got a couple of minutes and whether he starts or not [on Saturday] I’m sure he’ll get a good reception in Thomond.”
But Murray is well aware that it’s not just the threat Zebo poses that they need to be wary of.
“It’s too good squads going up against each other,” Murray said.
“Two squads who have two or three options in most positions, with [Brice] Dulin, [Juan] Imhoff and Teddy Thomas and Zeebs probably to come back in there whatever way they mix it up it’s a really dangerous back-three.
“And [Virimi] Vakatawa who’s really, really good at the moment, he had a great World Cup and carried that form on. I thought he was incredible last week. I thought he did everything, line breaks, turnovers, big hits – he’s someone you’ve got to contain. And then if he gets going at all, to be able to feed that back-three is really dangerous.
“A lot of threats. Up front too their pack is huge. Quite a heavy pack, a dynamic pack. I’m sure the forwards here are doing a lot of work to navigate their way through that this weekend.”