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Munster will face French and English competition to keep Zebo in Ireland

The 25-year-old’s CV has been widely distributed among Top 14 and Premiership clubs.

MUNSTER WILL FACE stiff competition from France and England if they are to retain Simon Zebo beyond the end of his current contract.

The Ireland international’s deal with the province expires next summer and The42 understands that Zebo’s CV has been widely distributed among the wealthy English and French clubs.

Simon Zebo Zebo's CV has been doing the rounds in England and France. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Rather unsurprisingly, there has been strong interest in the 21-times capped wing, who has also underlined his ability to excel at fullback recently.

Zebo was linked with a move away from Munster before signing a three-year deal back in 2013 and has expressed his openness to playing abroad on a number of occasions in the proceeding years.

The 25-year-old is a Munster-contracted player, meaning he is not on a central IRFU deal at present. That was always likely to change with Zebo’s contract negotiations this season, particularly after he was involved in the World Cup with Joe Schmidt’s Ireland.

The42 understands that Top 14 outfit Toulouse are one of a number of clubs who have registered an interest in Zebo, their hunger for a high-profile signing having increased with confirmation that Louis Picamoles will move to Northampton next summer.

Zebo’s creative skills and ability to beat defenders makes him particularly attractive to the French clubs, where marquee backline additions often come under intense pressure to produce linebreaks and score tries.

The Cork native has a reputation as a fluent speaker of French, although that may be a degree away from the truth. Zebo’s father, Arthur, is a native of Martinique so the wing does have a good foundation of French, but he is not believed to be completely fluent.

The fact that Zebo’s name has been pushed to the French and English clubs is nothing new, rather part and parcel of modern-day contract negotiations. That said, Munster and the IRFU will have to pay handsomely if they wish to retain Zebo.

The former Presentation Brothers College student has strong family ties in Ireland and to his home province, which would make any move all the more difficult.

Munster told The42 that they “don’t comment on speculation in relation to any player.”

- This article was updated at 16.28 to correct ‘Mozambique’ to ‘Martinique’.

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Murray Kinsella

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