While Simon Zebo's Munster return next season is signed and sealed, there is less certainty over whether he will force his way back into the Ireland squad.

When he left for Racing 92 in 2018, Joe Schmidt was in charge on the international scene but of course much has changed there with Andy Farrell now in his second year as head coach.

There is also added competition at full-back and on the wing with the likes of Hugo Keenan and James Lowe having been introduced to the Irish squad with varying degrees of success so far.

Speaking on the RTÉ Rugby Podcast, former Munster out-half Jonny Holland suggested that Zebo's possible return for Ireland, while not a guarantee, provides an interesting selection headache for Farrell with a Rugby World Cup two-and-a-half years away.

"The pressure at the Irish level means he would have to come back at his best and obviously that's where his ambition is," he said of his former provincial team-mate.

"We were on this podcast a couple of months ago and we were saying James Lowe is the answer to all our problems and James Lowe didn't have a great defensive display in his couple of games. But he has a monster of a left boot and we saw what he can bring. You saw at the weekend against Exeter, once he gets on the outside with that big fend and those massive legs.

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"There's so much competition in that Irish squad that getting up to camp is the first step in that process and seeing how he interacts with people in and around the new environment.

"If you come in now with a fresh understanding and a clean slate and that he's not the boss inside in Irish camp, he's coming in now challenging to get his place, which I think would be good for him.

"I think that will create a spark and we'll see the best out of him. But there is a lot of competition up there. I don't like saying it but they don't need Simon Zebo at the moment. It's a 'nice to have' and if he turns up like the Simon Zebo that was chomping at the bit and really enjoying Irish camp, then you're going to have a selection headache on your hands because that left wing and the full-back spot, there's plenty of people queuing up and Hugo Keenan's done nothing wrong.

"So I wouldn't like to be Andy Farrell when the whole lot of them are fit and really taking their chances."

Former Ireland front row Fiona Hayes believes Zebo's availability will give Leinster's Keenan the competition he needs in the 15 jersey at international level.

"Anyone with that talent will push other guys on," she said.

"It would be good to have someone pushing (Keenan) at 15 because I haven't seen Shane Daly do it. I know he's not playing 15 a lot of the time with Munster. They have him on the wing when he's playing.

"But I do think get (Zebo) up to camp. Whether he'll add to his caps, I'm not sure."

For Hayes' former team-mate Grace Davitt, the less structured approach under Farrell compared to the Schmidt era "will suit Zebo a lot more than in previous years".

She added: "It could be another string to the Irish bow and as Fi says it's going to put nothing but pressure on players that are there and that's only going to improve the squad as a whole."

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