Simon Zebo will be invited to return back to the Ireland camp tomorrow after his compassionate leave, but there was a time where the Munster man wasn’t invited in the first place.
Zebo is currently at home in Cork to attend the funeral of his grandfather, John Geary, but will return to London tomorrow to continue preparations for Italy on Sunday.
His grandfather’s death comes just days after one of Zebo’s most eye-catching performances for Ireland against Romania.
The international stage almost seemed a distant goal for Zebo less than two years ago, when he was frozen out by new coach Joe Schmidt, who wanted to see more application and team-work from the 25 year old.
Munster coach Anthony Foley, speaking ahead of Friday evening’s PRO12 clash with defending champions Glasgow, paid tribute to Zebo’s determination to get back into Schmidt’s squad, having been overlooked for the 2014 Six Nations triumph.
Simon Zebo, what he had to do for long periods of time to get himself into the squad and cement himself in the squad, fight tooth and nail to get in there.
These lads have done really well and it’s great to see that on an occasion like that they stepped up with those performances, Zebo’s try was the greatest Irish try never to be scored, but we see that most days here when he trains with us.
He has all the skills, he has the ability and it’s great to see it on the world stage again,” added Foley.
Having been on the outside looking in for almost an entire year between the June 2013 Tour of North America and the trip to Argentina 12 months later, the in-form Corkman is now a huge contender for a coveted starting spot for the Ireland ‘A’ team.