Irish star risks Test future over Racing move

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 14:49
Large simon zebo ireland tackled 800

UPDATE: Munster's record try scorer Simon Zebo's international future could be in doubt after accepting a lucrative offer from French Top 14 outfit Racing 92, according to the Irish Times

The mercurial 27-year-old wing is thought to have been offered up to 700 000 euros ($823 000) per year by Racing.

Their offer dwarfed that of rivals Pau and that of Munster's - which was boosted by private money and the Irish Rugby Football Union which could have risen to 400 000 euros for Zebo, whose try tally for Munster stands at 55.

He has scored nine tries in 35 Tests since making his Ireland debut in 2012.

Zebo - whose father is French from the Caribbean island of Martinique - will be reunited with former Munster teammate Donnacha Ryan and flyhalf Ronan O'Gara, now a member of the coaching staff.

"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," he said on his decision to leave.

"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."

Zebo - who had fought hard to gain the confidence of Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt as his unpredictable play didn't fit into the rigid programme of the Kiwi handler - said leaving the province where he was brought up by his Irish mother would be tough. 

"I will miss everything about this place – the players, staff, supporters and friends for life," he said.

Zebo will have to hope Schmidt treats him as he did flyhalf Jonathan Sexton in still selecting him when the latter moved for what turned out to be an unhappy spell at Racing.

However Sexton's one-time understudy at national and provincial level at Leinster, Bristol's Ian Madigan, has fared less well having not been called up since he left for an equally unhappy one season stay at Bordeaux-Begles last term.

Agence France-Presse