Simon Zebo: Joe Schmidt’s style of play is anything but predictable

Ireland will bounce right back from England defeat, says our man Simon Zebo...


Sexton v Russell

It’ll be some battle between the out-halves on Saturday, and the game itself will be very close.

Johnny Sexton, after an injury layoff, will be looking to get back to his best form as soon as possible. Finn Russell has been going really well in the Top 14 and Europe for us, so he’s going to be feeling very confident going toe-to-toe with Johnny. It’ll be very exciting and it’s hard to pick a winner, but the two of them will be very important for their sides if they want to win.

The two lads would be very different, but equally as exciting and entertaining. Both have different skill sets but are world class at what they do. I love playing with both of them, though I’ll be playing with Finn a bit longer than I will be with Johnny probably.

It’ll be very difficult to call who’ll get the better of who this weekend, but both are pivotal to their sides hopes.

Kearney’s Return and Schmidt ‘Predictability’

Robbie Henshaw got injured, so had to pull out. But Rob Kearney knows the position really well and he knows how Joe wants him to play. I’m sure he’ll fit back in seamlessly and hopefully he’ll have a good game and Ireland will pick up the win. I’ve no doubt he’ll fit back into Joe Schmidt’s system straight away.

You focus on different things for different games. You try to vary your attack as much as possible, but having been in the Ireland system and knowing how they want to play, there’s definitely a lot of variation to how they want to play, it’s just sometimes a team gets the better of you.

Rob Kearney Ireland

Then questions start getting asked and fingers start getting pointed, it’s normal enough, but I’m sure they’ll stick to what they know and how they want to play the game and give it another crack, and will hopefully get a different outcome.

Joe has the way he likes to play and there’s variation to that. It’s definitely not a very predictable way of playing. I think the team are probably under a bit more heat than they’re used to having been so successful last year, so as soon as they get the one big loss at home now the questions start to come. I think that’s normal enough but they’ll get back to winning ways.

You’d rather the loss to come now rather than down the line in a World Cup. It’s probably not the worst time, and you still want to compete in the Six Nations and win the trophy, and they’re still very capable of doing that, but the reality shock itself probably came in the first game. It’s not the worst timing. You’d prefer it now than in the World Cup.

On Sean O’Brien

It’s totally up to Sean if he decides to go to London Irish. It would obviously be an exciting challenge for him to play in a different league. I’m sure he will know where he stands with the IRFU and playing for Ireland before he makes any decision.

Ireland are 6-point favourites to beat Scotland on Saturday

What do you think?