Simon Zebo to leave as Munster unable to match offers

Province and IRFU say they were unable to match the offers of ‘several European clubs’

Simon Zebo says this is the right time to leave Munster. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Simon Zebo says this is the right time to leave Munster. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Munster and the IRFU have confirmed that Simon Zebo will depart the province at the end of the current season.

The 27-year-old winger and fullback has attracted the interest of several European clubs who have offered terms that both Munster and the IRFU are unable to match. Munster say this is “despite both the province and the union making every effort to retain the player with substantial improvements made to his existing deal.”

This club has moulded me into the player and person I am today

Within a press release on Monday afternoon Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said: “Working closely with the IRFU we put ourselves in the best position possible with an excellent offer, and while we are largely successful in retaining our best players within the Irish system we know it is out of our hands on this occasion.

“We are hugely disappointed to see Simon leave but we wish to thank him for his immense contribution to the province and wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

Commenting on the news Zebo himself said: “This club has moulded me into the player and person I am today and I will forever be grateful for that. It has always been my dream to play for my home club, wearing the red jersey while representing my family, friends and local community.

“However, I have always noted the draw to play abroad one day, and in not taking this decision lightly I have decided on what’s best for my family. With my partner Elvira and two young children, Jacob and Sofia, we are planning for our future and this is the right time for us to make the move.

Joe Schmidt has otherwise opted against picking players who play outside of the Irish provinces

“As much as I will miss everything about this place – the players, staff, supporters and friends for life – I know there are many more special nights in Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park to be had. I will continue to enjoy wearing my jersey with pride and will give my all in making sure Munster are successful this season.”

Born in Cork, Simon is a product of the Munster pathway, playing with PBC and Cork Con while advancing through the underage representative sides and moving from the academy on to senior ranks. He has played on 124 occasions to date, making his debut against Connacht at the Sportsground in April 2010, and is Munster’s record try scorer with 55 tries (his most recent coming against Castres in round one of the Champions Cup).

On the international front Zebo has played for Ireland on 35 occasions, scoring nine tries, and toured with the Lions in Australia in 2013.

Johnny Sexton was an exception to the rule when he joined Racing 92 four years ago, but Irish head coach Joe Schmidt has otherwise opted against picking players who play outside of the Irish provinces.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.