Northern Ireland news

Irish rugby international Simon Zebo claims comments directed at him from Belfast crowd 'not on'

Simon Zebo claimed he was on the receiving end of abuse while playing for French club Racing 92 against Ulster in Belfast on Saturday. Picture by RTÉ
John Monaghan

IRISH rugby international Simon Zebo has said he was on the receiving end of comments that were "not on" from the crowd at Belfast's Kingspan Stadium during a weekend match against Ulster.

Zebo, who plays for French club Racing 92, tweeted after Saturday's game: "I hope my ears deceived me with some comments directed my way from the crowd. #Not on – Django wins in the end."

Django is an apparent reference to Django Unchained, a Quentin Tarantino film about an African-American slave, which was released in 2012.

Zebo was substituted at half-time with a bandaged right leg during the European Champions Cup game, which Ulster won 26-22.

Read More: Simon Zebo affair take centre stage as draw for 2019 World Cup is made

He scored a try during the first half and was audibly booed by the crowd.

Born in Cork, the 28-year-old's father is from the Caribbean island of Martinique, while his mother is Irish.

Ulster Rugby said it "condemns all forms of abuse and will work with the relevant parties to robustly investigate any complaints received".

European Professional Club Rugby, the governing body of the Champions Cup, said it had "not received a formal complaint from Racing 92 regarding any alleged case of verbal abuse" but added that it is in contact with both clubs.

Zebo was involved in controversy in the match between the two teams in Paris in October, when he pointed his finger at Ulster's Michael Lowry as he ran past him to score a try, leading the referee to ask Zebo to apologise to his opponent.

After that game, the Racing 92 clubman gave Lowry his shirt and also said sorry in a tweet.

Zebo wrote: "Really sorry to Michael Lowry. Got too excited and I don't do stuff like that as long as I've played. I wouldn't like my kids doing that and I'm disappointed in myself."

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