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'At the end of the day, rugby is a business' - Zebo's family part of big decision

The 25-year-old says Munster ‘will always, always mean a lot to me.’

SIMON ZEBO SAYS he must think of his young family as he considers leaving Munster at the end of the season.

Simon Zebo Zebo has featured at fullback and on the wing for Munster and Ireland this season. Source: Camerasport/Craig Thomas/INPHO

The Ireland wing’s contract with the province expires next summer, and he has understandably attracted interest from a number of Top 14 clubs including Pau and Stade Français.

With Munster hoping to retain one of their most recognisable and impactful homegrown players, the 25-year-old says he is waiting on all options to be presented to him by his agent, former Scotland wing Shaun Longstaff of Top Marque Sports.

Zebo signed his current provincial contract with Munster in 2013, a very different point in his career and family life. Earlier this year, the 21-times capped Ireland wing and his girlfriend Elvira welcomed a son, Jacob, into the world.

The former PBC student says his family will be central to his final decision on whether to stay in Ireland or move away.

“I think first and foremost the decision will be based around myself and my family, so it’s not going to be a selfish one where I say, ‘Oh I need to go for this… or I need to go for this’,” said Zebo at Castletroy Park Hotel yesterday evening.

“I think it is going to be what is going to be best for my family and what I want to do for the next couple of years, so it’s hard to say, but we’ll see.

Simon Zebo Zebo was in relaxed form as he discussed a possible move away from Munster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It is not just me, so I can’t be selfish. There is a lot of things going to come into play. Hopefully soon enough we will be able to make a decision, and cross that bridge then.”

Discussions around a move for Zebo have swirled among rugby supporters and media in the past month, but the Cork man says he hasn’t found it distracting as he prepares for this weekend’s Champions Cup clash with Leicester in Limerick.

“No, it’s actually not (difficult to concentrate on rugby),” said Zebo. “We train for a small time during the day so I just keep the rugby to the rugby, and the other stuff totally apart. It won’t affect my training, or my game.”

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Considerations for his Ireland career will naturally play some part in Zebo’s decision, although having dropped out of Joe Schmidt’s matchday squad during the World Cup can’t have helped in that regard.

Money, playing style, rugby relationships, family, lifestyle, willingness to experience a new culture – the factors are many.

Zebo says it “wouldn’t bother me too much” whether or not a final call is made before Christmas, instead pointing out that he must be patient in waiting to learn exactly the terms of each offer he must consider.

“I think whatever is best for me and my family, at the end of the day, once everything is known then it will be easier to make my decision, and decide what is best for me,” said Zebo.

Simon Zebo Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Once the people who are working for me in trying to sort that out come back to me and say, ‘here’s what you have,’ then I will decide. Until then I don’t know.”

A born and bred Munster man, Zebo underlined that he still remains passionate about his home province.

However, he stopped short of declaring that those ties will keep him on Irish soil next season.

“Munster will always, always mean a lot to me,” said Zebo. “It’s my childhood club. I have supported Munster all of my life. It always will mean a great deal to me.

“But at the end of the day, rugby is a business and you can’t get swallowed up. You have to look after yourself, and know what’s best for you and your family. Hopefully everything works out the way I would like it to. We will see what happens.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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