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Simon Zebo to leave Munster at the end of the season

The Ireland international has attracted interest from several European clubs.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

SIMON ZEBO WILL leave Munster at the end of the current season after the province were unable to retain his services amid interest from several European clubs.

The 27-year-old Ireland international’s current deal with Munster expires next summer and the province and the IRFU were unable to match the terms offered to him from abroad.

It has not yet been announced where Zebo is leaving for, although he has been heavily linked with French club Pau.

Zebo, who wasn’t on a central contract with the IRFU, had previously rejected advances from the Top 14 side to sign a new two-year deal with Munster back in February 2016.

But speculation over his future intensified over the last few weeks after reports of renewed interest and a ‘really competitive offer’ from Pau surfaced during the opening weeks of the season.

“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,” Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said.

“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.”

On his decision to leave Munster, 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.

“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.”

The Cork native has played 128 times for Munster during seven years at the club and has scored 55 tries in both Pro14 and European competition.

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