Controversial pundit returns for Six Nations, Ireland hopeful does not

Jared Wright
Ireland and Munster fullback Simon Zebo and former Scotland head coach Matt Williams.

Ireland and Munster fullback Simon Zebo and former Scotland head coach Matt Williams.

Irish broadcasters Virgin Media TV and RTE may have inadvertently revealed that Simon Zebo has earned a Test recall for the Six Nations.

Zebo has been in excellent form for Munster in recent weeks, which has led many to suggest that he has done enough to warrant a recall and potentially his first Test cap since 2017.

Williams returns as a pundit, Zebo doesn’t

On Monday, Virgin Media TV and RTE announced their broadcasting schedule for the Six Nations and with it, their pundits for the tournament.

Zebo’s name was notably absent from the punditry, particularly after he was a fan favourite last year. During the 2023 competition, the outside back was part of RTE’s punditry team, splitting his time between provincial duties and his TV work.

Having been omitted from this year’s punditry team, the hype for Zebo’s inclusion will only grow. This is especially true considering the injuries to Ireland wingers Mack Hansen and Jimmy O’Brien.

Meanwhile, ex-Scotland head coach Matt Williams returns as a pundit for Virgin Media TV for the tournament. The Australian is a controversial figure in the rugby public with his polarising views.

The 64-year-old was a huge critic of the Springboks during the Rugby World Cup and believed that their 7-1 split, in favour of the forwards, on the bench was ‘against the spirit of the game’ and also said that Jacques Nienaber and his coaching staff were ‘abusing their bench’.

Joe Molloy will front Virgin’s coverage with ex-Ireland internationals Rob Kearney, Shane Horgan, Andrew Trimble, Ian Madigan, Fiona Hayes and Grace Davitt the other panellists. Finally, Dave McIntyre will be joined by ex-Ireland and Munster forward Alan Quinlan on commentary.

Meanwhile, Jacqui Hurley will present the games televised on RTE while their panellists and analysts include the excellent Bernard Jackman and fellow ex-internationals Jamie Heaslip, Stephen Ferris, Fiona Coghlan, Donal Lenihan, Hannah Tyrrell and Jerry Flannery.

Six Nations TV coverage in Ireland

Friday, February 2

France v Ireland (8pm kick-off) – Virgin Media TV

Saturday, February 3

Italy v England (2:15pm kick-off) – Virgin Media TV
Wales v Scotland (4:45pm kick-off) – RTÉ

Saturday, February 10

Scotland v France (2:15pm kick-off) – Virgin Media TV
England v Wales (4:45pm kick-off) – RTÉ

Sunday, February 11

Ireland v Italy (3pm kick-off) – Virgin Media TV

Saturday, February 24

Ireland v Wales (2:15pm kick-off) – RTÉ
Scotland v England (4:45pm kick-off) – Virgin Media TV

Sunday, February 25

France v Italy (3pm kick-off) – RTÉ

Saturday, March 9

Italy v Scotland (2:15pm kick-off) – Virgin Media TV
England v Ireland (4:45pm kick-off) – RTÉ

Sunday, March 10

Wales v France (3pm kick-off) – RTÉ

Saturday, March 16

Wales v Italy (2:15pm kick-off) – RTÉ
Ireland v Scotland (4:45pm kick-off) – Virgin Media TV
France v England (8pm kick-off) – RTÉ

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