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'We hated ye': Simon Zebo lifts the lid on spicy Munster rivalry with Ryan Wilson's Glasgow

By Liam Heagney

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Simon Zebo has lifted the lid on the tense rivalry that brewed up some years ago between Munster and Glasgow, explaining why Warriors back row Ryan Wilson became so disliked in the Irish team’s dressing room.

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The rivalry initially sprung from heated PRO12 meetings, Glasgow winning semi-final and final matches in 2014 and 2015 respectively. This tension carried on and eventually carried over into feisty pool stage collisions in the 2016/17 Champions Cup, matches that were won by Munster.

Keith Earls was sent off when the teams met in Limerick in October 2016, the week after Anthony Foley had tragically passed away.

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Ryan Wilson reveals all about his 2018 Calcutta Cup fight with England’s Owen Farrell
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Ryan Wilson reveals all about his 2018 Calcutta Cup fight with England’s Owen Farrell

Tempers then reached a boiling point in the January 2017 return match at Scotstoun when Glasgow players – including Wilson – were accused of targeting the exposed standing leg of Conor Murray when the scrum-half box kicked from the back of the ruck.

With both Zebo and Wilson now appearing as co-hosts on the RugbyPass Offload show, the Celtic rivalry was revisited with special emphasis on how Zebo received massive Munster dressing room stick after he pressed the follow button on the Glasgow back row’s Instagram page.   

“I just want to get this off my chest,” said Zebo with a smile. “A couple of years back we used to have a lot of games against Glasgow, whether it was Champions Cup or playing each other in the league, and all the games were quite spicy. 

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“There was always a bit of argy-bargy, and you [Wilson] would be leading that for a lot of the Glasgow boys. There were a few players on the Munster team who wouldn’t have been fans of you. 

“It was just a bit of craic. They weren’t too serious I don’t think. But there was one day you followed me on Instagram and I clicked the follow button back because we had played against each other so much. 

“I had a screenshot sent into a WhatsApp group of a few players that I can’t name. Three or four of them were like literally, ‘What the f*** is this? You’re following this clown’. I got a bit of heat for that and I had to immediately unfollow you, but I followed you again recently. 

“I got so much heat for that. It was a bit of craic. I won’t name the players but it was in the middle of all the games we were playing against each other. There was a bit of angst.”

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With Wilson warming to the topic of how he was disliked in the Munster dressing room, a revealing Q&A followed between the Scot and Zebo which identified the Irish players who were most wound up by the rivalry. Here’s how it unfolded:

RW: Was there a gentleman called Peter (O’Mahony) involved in that? 

SZ: Potentially. And there was a few others who I won’t mention.

RW: That cements it, that means I have done my job. I know have done my job when that sort of stuff comes back… I’m sure there’s another one, (Andrew) Conway maybe?

SZ: Yeah, Conway was in there. You know it, the fellas you were stirring up you know too well. 

RW: It was Peter O’Mahony and definitely Conway. That was the two definites, and I’m guessing Conor Murray is in there as well?

SZ: Yeah. Yeah. 

RW: There was that whole thing about us targeting Conor Murray when he was kicking the ball from the base of rucks, which we were. 

SZ: Yeah, going after his standing leg, ye dirty shower. Ye know all about it. Ah, we hated ye. There was real rivalry there for a few years. 

RW: I love it, I absolutely love it, and we have got a game against Munster in two weeks, that’s our next game now. With this young squad, I’m going to have to get them up to speed on what it means.

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'We hated ye': Simon Zebo lifts the lid on spicy Munster rivalry with Ryan Wilson's Glasgow

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