“He is just in another world!” – Simon Zebo names the best player he’s ever played with

“I’ve never seen a player as complete as him.”

Munster winger Simon Zebo has played with some of the very best players the game has ever seen throughout his impressive career for club and country.

The 33-year-old came through the ranks at Munster back in 2010, getting an opportunity to play alongside provincial legends such as Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara, before going on to earn international honours alongside the likes of Brian O’Driscoll and Johnny Sexton with Ireland.

The Cork native even toured with the Lions back in 2013, playing alongside the very best Britain and Ireland had to offer at the time, but it was in France with Racing 92 where he shared a pitch with the best player he’s ever played with.

Speaking to us recently, in an exclusive interview, Zebo didn’t even pause when the question was put to him.

“Virimi Vakatawa, for sure, for sure.” Zebo said without hesitation.

“I’ve just never seen anything like him. I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to watch him at training every day, I swear to god. I mean I consider myself very skilful, but he is just in another world! Oh my god.

“Everything like, his left to right pass, right to left pass, his little grubber kicks, his tackling, his jackalling, his try-scoring – there’s nothing he can’t do.

“Just throw the ball to Virimi, that was our game plan. Just throw the ball to Virimi.

“He was so smart as well, the way he’d read the game.”

Zebo couldn’t speak highly enough of the former France international, highlighting a particular game he played with Vakatawa against Saracens where he won the game for Racing, much to the amazement of the Irishman.

“We were losing the semi-final at home to Saracens in the Champions Cup and him and Finn [Russell], he just looks at Finn and calls the perfect play. Catches it, fends at the same time, offloads to [Juan] Imhoff, all in one motion. And I’m like ‘How did you just do that?’ – and we win the game,” Zebo continued.

“I’ve never seen a player as complete as him,” 

Unfortunately for Vakatawa, he was forced to retire from rugby at just 30 years old last year due to a heart condition, robbing the rugby world of a generational talent far too early.

A 31-time French international, Vakatawa was nominated for the 2020 EPCR European Player of the Year. He also played over 60 games for the French sevens team, having been originally born in Fiji before declaring for Les Blues.

Last week Vodafone Ireland launched a brand new 5G Stadium App. Fans attending the Bank of Ireland Nations Series games against Italy and England at Aviva Stadium can access this new 5G Stadium App, which utilises augmented reality (AR) and live performance tracking to show game and player stats in real-time to deliver an enhanced fan experience.

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