Zebo to join O’Gara and Ryan at Racing 92

Zebo to join O’Gara and Ryan at Racing 92

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

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

The 27-year-old winger and fullback will join former Munster players Ronan O’Gara and Donnacha Ryan at Paris based Racing 92.

Zebo has attracted the interest of several European clubs who have offered terms that Munster and the IRFU are unable to match despite both the province and the Union making every effort to retain the player with substantial improvements made to his existing deal.

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 Simon Zebo 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.

Simon Zebo sidelined with rib injury – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

“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.

“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.”

Zebo will join former Munster colleagues Ronan O’Gara, who joined the Paris side as defence coach in 2013, and Donnacha Ryan who moved to the club earlier this year.

Former Munster centre Casey Laulala also departed the province for Racing 92 in 2014 after a two year stint here.

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 leading the way 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 9 tries, and toured with the Lions in Australia in 2013.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick.

Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station’s flagship current affairs programme.

He was also the station’s News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day.

As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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