Simon Zebo out for 10 weeks
Munster captain Peter O’Mahony to return against Gloucester on Saturday
Munster’s Simon Zebo is expected to be out until the end of the year with a foot injury. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Simon Zebo has been sidelined until the end of the calendar year due to a cracked bone in his left foot which he sustained in Munster’s Heineken Cup defeat to Edinburgh last Saturday.
A Munster statement on Tuesday night, after Zebo visited a specialist in Dublin, estimated his recovery timespan at “approximately 10 weeks”, which would rule him out of Munster’s next three Heineken Cup games either side of Ireland’s three November Tests, although at least he could be in line to return for his province’s final two games away to Gloucester and at home to Edinburgh.
With Zebo joining Paddy Butler on the sidelines for Saturday’s backs-to-the-wall teatime Thomond Park rendezvous with Gloucester, Rob Penney and co are thus obliged to make at least two changes, with captain Peter O’Mahony certain to return in the backrow.
Penney had no regrets over the decision to rest their captain for Edinburgh, even though he had been cleared of concussion. “No, as we said all along it was in consultation with the medical team, advice we got and it was the right thing to do. I have got no hesitation. If that situation rose again I’d do the same thing.”
Johne Murphy, Denis Hurley and Andrew Conway, a try scorer in the Munster A win over Stirling, are in the running to be promoted in place of Zebo, as are others from the As.
“You could easily see some involved out of that game,” maintained Penney. “It was really pleasing to come home on reviewing that performance. A number of guys really put their hand up and made our job even more difficult.”
Not that Penney will be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. “We haven’t finalised selection yet. Once we get through the nuts and bolts of the next 48 hours, it could be more than two, but there won’t be wholesale (changes).
“Certainly there is an element of determination there this week which is what you’d expect. It’s just such a shame that your ego needs to be damaged for you to get yourself back into those zones on the back of what was quite a good performance against Leinster.”