Munster and Ireland winger Simon Zebo to retire at the end of the season

The former British and Irish Lion was capped 35 times by Ireland, scoring seven tries

The red card shown to Munster's Simon Zebo seemed to galvinise them according to McFarland
Munster's Simon Zebo has announced that he will retire at the end of the season

THOMOND park is set to lose one of its brightest smiles in the shape of winger Simon Zebo, who has announced his intention to retire from top-level rugby at the end of this season.

The Cork-born Munsterman first played for the province as an academy player in 2010 and went on to play 173 times for the Red Army, scoring 72 tries, winning the Celtic League in 2010 and its later incarnation, the United Rugby Championship (URC) in 2023.

In a statement released by Munster Rugby on Tuesday, Zebo said: “After much thought, I’ve decided that this season will be my last playing the game I love.

“It has been a dream come true, making memories and friends for life and travelling the world with amazing people.

Simon Zebo is back in the Ireland squad for the first time since 2017, having rejoined Munster during the summer. Picture by AP
Simon Zebo was capped 35 times by Ireland, scoring seven tries in green

“A huge thank you to my family, friends, teammates, coaches and supporters – without ye none of this would have been possible. I am truly grateful for all the love and support over the years.

“I’ve loved every second, it’s been some craic and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Having started his career off with Presentation Brothers College and Cork Constitution, the son of a Martinique-born French athlete, Arthur Zebo, was a star at most sports growing up, also playing hurling for Blackrock GAC and soccer for Avondale United, before opting for the oval ball going forward.

Zebo was a two-time All-Ireland League champion at amateur club level with Cork Constitution, as well as a Munster senior cup and All-Ireland cup champion with the club.

Winning his first Ireland cap in 2012, Zebo was a rapid winger who dazzled crowds with his ability to kick-chase and stretch the opposition with his lines and quick feet.

Despite being Cork through and through, his career called him elsewhere when he was signed by the French top 14 side Racing 92 in 2018.

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
Simon Zebo signed for French side Racing 92 in 2018

He spent four years in Paris playing for the French outfit, where in 2020, he scored two tries in the European Champions Cup final against Exeter Chiefs, who narrowly beat Les Ciel et Blanc 31-27.

After three years in France, the winger returned to Thomond Park with Munster in 2021, where he won the URC in 2023, beating the DHL Stormers of South Africa to take the title.

Internationally, Zebo won the U20 and senior Six Nations championships in 2010 and 2015 respectively, also featuring in the 2015 Rugby World Cup but missing out on the Japan (2019) and France (2023) tournaments.