World News – GB – The man for the big occasion Zebo in place to make the racing dream come true


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THE SEATS AT ASHTON Gate was never the backdrop that Simon Zebo would have imagined if he allowed himself to dream of a big day with Racing 92

Still to be missed with 15 on the back and the European Cup at stake? Yeah, that’s the thing

Whatever the unforeseeable circumstances of this late 2019/20 season highlight, days like this are precisely what he hoped to gain from a move to Paris

The Corkman has this wonderful tendency to stand up for special occasions His outrageous skills and the confidence to use them give him the ability to break dead ends in the most difficult circumstances.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have the opportunity to show this ability with Ireland in his final year with Munster His last test was against Japan during the 2017 summer tour; Jacob Stockdale made his debut the same month and the prolific Ulster man was the beneficiary, as the replaced Munster was frozen once he agreed to switch to Racing 92

Zebo was not yet a racing driver when they last appeared in the Heineken Champions Cup final – a loss to Leinster in 2018, as he scored a try as Munster tried to oust them in the half. final

Munster, however, has a knack for making Europe’s bottom four feel close to the baseline, and since 2009, once they hit that point, they’ve found themselves at swim valiantly against a tide of the continent’s deepest pockets

The shoe is on the other foot with the champagne tourbillon, blazer and Racing backed by Jackie Lorenzetti They can be slight underdogs against the Chiefs of Exeter – who boast of their own Irish contingent to Gareth Steenson and Ian Whitten – today (kick-off 1645, BT Sport and Channel 4) as both teams chase a first European title

However, after eliminating Saracens, Le Ciel et Bleu will be optimistic as the final obstacle approaches after a week of turmoil in Corsica

Zebo and Donnacha Ryan during the captain’s race at Ashton Gate in Bristol yesterday

Source: Ryan Hiscott / INPHO

Zebo has not always been an automatic first choice in the back row of Racing, but what a back row because it takes its place behind the mercury Finn Russell and the sublime Teddy Iribaren and in a rear three who also praises Juan Imhoff and Louis Dupichot with no place for Teddy Thomas this time around

The other Munster in the Parisian club’s playing ranks, Donnacha Ryan, hopes to make his presence felt as a substitute as Bernard Le Roux returns from injury to his partner Dominic Bird Ryan already has a winner’s medal for this hidden competition as he was a substitute in 2008, two years before Zebo made his home province debut How they must both aspire to the chance to rock the Champions Cup today

The full-back got the call to start ahead of Kurtley Beale and the mouth-watering contest he and his counterpart Stuart Hogg are capable of offering

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Exeter has other game-breakers of course, and they’ll surely need Henry Slade’s languid talent and range of kicks to move their opponents.

A wrong move will invite pressure Races show the best record in the competition for both defeated defenders (229) and kick return trials (7) As for clean breaks, well, the top three places belong to Racing

Zebo is not part of the trio, but with a starting role today, he will have the chance to make an indelible mark on Racing 92 history

15 Stuart Hogg
14 Jack Nowell
13 Henry Slade
12 Ian Whitten
11 Tom O’Flaherty
10 Joe Simmonds (Captain)
9 Jack Maunder

1 Alec Hepburn
2 Luke Cowan-Dickie
3 Harry Williams
4 Jonny Gray
5 Jonny Hill
6 Dave Ewers
7 Jacques Vermeulen
8 Sam Simmonds

16 Jack Yeandle
17 Ben Moon
18 Tomas Francis
19 Sam Skinner
20 Jannes Kirsten
21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
22 Gareth Steenson
23 Ollie Devoto

15 Simon Zebo
14 Louis Dupichot
13 Virimi Vakatawa
12 Henry Chavancy (captain)
11 Juan Imhoff
10 Finn Russell
9 Teddy Iribaren

1 Eddy Ben Arous
2 Camille Cat
3 Georges Henri Colombe
4 Bernard Le Roux
5 Dominic Bird
6 Wenceslas Lauret
7 Fabien Sanconnie
8 Antonie Claassen

16 Teddy Baubigny
17 Hassane Kolingar
18 Ali Oz
19 Donnacha Ryan
20 Boris Palu
21 Maxime Machenaud
22 Olivier Klemenczak
23 Kurtley Beale

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Racing 92, Simon Zebo, European Rugby Champions Cup, Munster Rugby, Rugby union, Donnacha Ryan, Ireland, Exeter Chiefs, Leinster Rugby

World news – GB – Man for the big occasion Zebo in place to realize the racing dream


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