Simon Zebo 'thrilled and honoured' to come home to play for Munster

Cork rugby dynamo signs deal to return to Munster and Ireland after three years with Racing 92
Simon Zebo 'thrilled and honoured' to come home to play for Munster

Simon Zebo celebrates with the fans after scoring for Munster against Racing Metro 92, who he joined in 2018. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

CORK rugby ace Simon Zebo will be back in red next season. 

A deal has been finalised to bring the 31-year-old back to Munster from Racing 92. The initial one-year contract will be funded by the province and the IRFU

The flying winger departed Munster in 2018 to play in the Top 14 and the Reds missed his flair and try-scoring ability.

Simon Zebo of Racing 92 celebrates after scoring a try against Harlequins. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
Simon Zebo of Racing 92 celebrates after scoring a try against Harlequins. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

His move to Paris meant he couldn't feature for Ireland in recent years, but lining out for his home club makes him eligible to compete for a place in Andy Farrell's Irish squad for the 2023 World Cup.

“I am thrilled and honoured to be coming back home to play for Munster," said Zebo. "My family and I have been so lucky to have enjoyed three incredible years with Racing 92 in Paris and I cannot thank the team there enough, I really have made friends for life and take with me some brilliant memories.

However, as everyone knows, Munster holds a very special place in my heart.

"I’ve always said that I wanted to play for them and potentially Ireland again, so when this opportunity arose the lure of being close to home, family and friends and Munster fans, it outweighed all other options. I cannot wait to get back to the HPC with the team and hopefully a packed Thomond Park.”

Simon Zebo celebrates after scoring against Wales in 2013. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE
Simon Zebo celebrates after scoring against Wales in 2013. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

This co-funded contract will see Munster’s all-time record try-scorer return from Racing 92 and line out for his home club where he made 144 appearances and scored 60 tries between 2010 and 2018.

In his third season with the Top 14 side, the 31-year-old has played 55 times and scored 21 tries to date

Head Coach Johann van Graan added: "The opportunity to bring Simon back to Munster came about in early April following a final review of our squad’s budgetary position for season-end and with assistance from the IRFU to support what we believe is a really good deal for Munster and Irish Rugby.

“Simon’s desire to return to Ireland and play with his home club is illustrated by his willingness to sign at a level below his market value elsewhere. This has made bringing the province’s all-time leading try-scorer back home, possible.”

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