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Munster confirm that Zebo is returning to his native province this summer

The 31-year-old Ireland international has been in France for the last three seasons.

Zebo is set for a return to Munster.
Zebo is set for a return to Munster.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

Updated Apr 14th 2021, 1:36 PM

MUNSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that Simon Zebo is returning home this summer after three seasons with Racing 92 in France.

The Cork man has signed a one-year contact with Munster that has been co-funded by the IRFU.

Zebo had been linked with London Irish in recent weeks but Munster will instead bring him on board.

Zebo, who can play at fullback or on the wing, is Munster’s record try-scorer with 60 in his 144 appearances so far.

“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,” said Munster head coach Johann van Graan.

“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.”

Zebo hasn’t played for Ireland since 2017 but a return to Munster will make him eligible for selection in Andy Farrell’s squad once again and the Cork man has made no secret of his desire to add to his 35 caps.

He will add to the depth in the Munster’s back three alongside the likes of Keith Earls, Mike Haley, Andrew Conway, Shane Daly, Liam Coombes, Calvin Nash, Matt Gallagher, and Seán French.

Zebo moved to Racing in 2018 and started last season’s Champions Cup final against Exeter, scoring a try in an excellent individual performance from fullback.

“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 and 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.”

Meanwhile, Munster have confirmed that former assistant coach Ian Costello is also returning to the province this summer as their new academy manager.

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ian-costello Ian Costello is also returning to Munster this summer. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Costello has been in England with Nottingham and Wasps since 2016 but will return to Munster to take up his new role in July.

“My family and I have had an incredible experience in the UK over the last five years at Nottingham and Wasps, but we are very excited for an opportunity to return home and once again work with Munster and the IRFU,” said Costello.

“I would particularly like to thank Wasps for the support and understanding they have shown me and my family.

“I am deeply passionate about Munster and Irish rugby and look forward to the challenge and responsibility of being part of developing the elite player pathway in Munster.”

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Murray Kinsella

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