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Simon Zebo (born 16 March 1990) is an Irish rugby union player, currently playing for French side Racing 92 in the Top 14 and European Rugby Champions Cup. He usually plays wing, but has also played fullback for Ireland, Munster and Racing 92.

Simon Zebo
Simon Zebo 2015 RWC.jpg
Zebo warming up for Ireland during the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Date of birth (1990-03-16) 16 March 1990 (age 29)
Place of birthCork, Ireland
Height1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight98 kg (15.4 st; 216 lb)
SchoolPresentation Brothers College
SpouseElvira Fernández
Children2
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Fullback
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2007–2012 Cork Constitution ()
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2010–2018
2018–present
Munster
Racing 92
144
23
(300)
(65)
Correct as of 31 March 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2010
2012–2014
2012–2017
2013
Ireland U20
Ireland Wolfhounds
Ireland
British and Irish Lions
9
2
35
0
(18)
(5)
(45)
(0)
Correct as of 17 June 2017

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Born in Cork, Zebo attended Beaumont Boys School and Presentation Brothers College, Cork.[1] In his youth he also played hurling for Blackrock GAA and association football for Avondale United.[2][3]

MunsterEdit

2010–2013Edit

Zebo made his Munster debut against Connacht on 18 April 2010[4] and scored his first try for Munster against Scarlets in April 2011.[5] He made his Heineken Cup debut for Munster against Scarlets on 10 December 2011.[6] Zebo opened his Heineken Cup scoring account with a hat-trick against Northampton Saints on 21 January 2012, during a Man-of-the-Match performance in the Round 6 fixture.[7]

In January 2013, Zebo agreed a three-year contract with Munster.[8] He became the first ever player to score two Heineken Cup hat-tricks within a year, scoring three of Munster's five tries in the home match against Racing 92 on 20 January 2013, again being awarded the Man-of-the-Match.[9] He made his return from the foot injury sustained in Ireland's 2013 Six Nations in Munster's 18–12 Heineken Cup quarter-final victory against Harlequins on 7 April 2013.[10] He also started the 16–10 semi-final defeat to Clermont Auvergne on 27 April 2013.[11] Zebo was named Munster Young Player of the Year for the 2012–13 season on 12 May 2013.[12] He was also nominated for Munster Player of the Year.[13]

 
Zebo playing against Harlequins in the 2012–13 Heineken Cup.

Zebo suffered a foot injury during Munster's opening 2013–14 Heineken Cup fixture against Edinburgh on 12 October 2013, ruling him out for 10 weeks.[14]

2014–2018Edit

Zebo returned to full training on 6 January 2014.[15] Zebo came off the bench in the 20–7 away win against Gloucester on 11 January 2014, a win that secured quarter-final qualification in the 2013–14 Heineken Cup.[16] He also came off the bench against Edinburgh in the Round 6 fixture on 19 January 2014, scoring a try in the 38–6 win that secured a home quarter-final.[17] Zebo scored a brace of tries against Zebre on 15 February 2014.[18] He started in Munster's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Toulouse on 5 April 2014, scoring a try in the 47–23 win.[19] Zebo started in Munster's semi-final against Toulon on 27 April 2014, scoring a try in the 24–16 defeat.[20]

Zebo scored a try in Munster's win against Benetton on 12 September 2014.[21] He scored a hat-trick against Zebre on 19 September 2014, a game in which he won the Man-of-the-Match award.[22] Zebo started in Munster's first European Rugby Champions Cup game against Sale Sharks on 18 October 2014.[23] He started against Saracens in Round 2 of the Champions Cup on 24 October 2014.[24] Zebo started in the Round 3 game against Clermont Auvergne on 6 December 2014.[25] He also started in the reverse fixture against Clermont on 14 December 2014.[26] Zebo started against Saracens on 17 January 2015.[27] He started at Fullback against Sale Sharks in Round 6 on 25 January 2015, scoring two tries and earning the Man-of-the-Match award in the 65–10 win.[28] Zebo scored a try in Munster's 42–20 win against Connacht on 28 March 2015. In doing so, he equaled Doug Howlett's record of 22 league tries for Munster.[29] Zebo scored a try in Munster's 34–3 win against Edinburgh on 11 April 2015, overtaking Howlett's record.[30] He scored a try in the 30–19 win against Treviso on 25 April 2015.[31] Zebo scored a try in Munster's 21–18 play-off semi-final win against Ospreys on 23 May 2015.[32] He started for Munster in the 2015 Pro12 Grand Final against Glasgow Warriors on 30 May 2015.[33]

Zebo started the opening pool game of the 2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup against Benetton on 14 November 2015, scoring a try in Munster's 32-7 win.[34] He started against Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup on 12 December 2015.[35] On 16 January 2016, Zebo scored a try in Munster's Round 4 Champions Cup game against Stade Français, equaling Anthony Horgan's record of 41 tries scored for Munster.[36] On 1 February 2016, it was announced that Zebo had signed a new two-year contract with Munster and the IRFU.[37] On 25 March 2016, Zebo scored two tries against Zebre. In doing so, he overtook Anthony Horgan's try-scoring record (41) for Munster.[38] On 16 April 2016, Zebo earnt his 100th cap for Munster, starting at Fullback in the game against Connacht.[39]

On 3 September 2016, Zebo went off injured in Munster's 2016–17 Pro12 fixture against Scarlets. He was subsequently ruled out for 5 weeks with a fractured rib.[40] On 1 October 2016, he made his return from the injury, scoring a try in Munster's 49–5 win against Zebre.[41] On 7 January 2017, Zebo scored his 50th try for Munster in the sides 32–7 away win against Racing 92.[42] On 27 May 2017, Zebo started for Munster against Scarlets in the 2017 Pro12 Grand Final.[43] It was confirmed in October 2017 that Zebo would leave Munster at the end of the 2017–18 season.[44] Zebo's try in Munster's 27–22 Champions Cup semi-final defeat against Racing 92 on 22 April 2018 saw him equal Anthony Foley's club record of 23 tries in European games.[45] He set up Keith Earls' crucial try in Munster's 20–16 win against Edinburgh in the 2017–18 Pro14 semi-final qualifier on 5 May 2018, a match that was Zebo's final appearance for his home province in Thomond Park.[46] Zebo made his final appearance for Munster on 19 May 2018, starting in the provinces 16–15 defeat at the hands of Leinster in their Pro14 semi-final.[47]

Racing 92Edit

French Top 14 club Racing 92 confirmed in January 2018 that Zebo would be joining them at the beginning of the 2018–19 season.[48] Zebo made his competitive debut for Racing on 25 August 2018, starting at fullback in their 25–9 win against Toulon.[49][50] He scored his first try for Racing in their 40–17 defeat at the hands of Clermont on 2 September 2018.[51] During Racing 92's 26–22 defeat against Ulster in the Champions Cup on 12 January 2019, Zebo was the target of racial abuse from an Ulster fan; Ulster later issued a lifetime ban to the individual responsible for the racism.[52][53]

IrelandEdit

2011–2013Edit

Zebo was selected to train alongside the main 24-man Irish senior squad for the first week of their training for the 2012 Six Nations Championship.[54] He was called up into the Ireland Wolfhounds squad for their game against England Saxons after Luke Fitzgerald failed to recover from injury in time.[55] He made his Wolfhounds debut against England Saxons on 28 January 2012, scoring a try during the game.[56] He was selected in Ireland's senior squad for the 2012 tour to New Zealand and made his senior Ireland debut on 9 June 2012, starting on the left-wing in the first test.[57]

Zebo scored his first try for Ireland against Argentina on 24 November 2012, whilst playing at Fullback.[58] Zebo was named in Ireland's training squad for the 2013 Six Nations Championship on 17 January 2013.[59] He made his Six Nations debut on 2 February 2013, scoring a try as Ireland beat Wales 30–22 in the Millennium Stadium.[60] Zebo hit the headlines when he used a back-heel flick to retain the ball in the lead-up to Cian Healy's try for Ireland against Wales.[61] He started against England on 10 February 2013, but went off injured early in the first half.[62] Zebo was ruled out for 10 weeks after suffering a broken foot during the match.[63] Zebo won the IRUPA award for Supporters' Player of the Year on 8 May 2013.[64] He was also nominated for Players' Player of the Year, but lost out to Ulster's Nick Williams.[65] Zebo was named in the Ireland squad for the 2013 Ireland tour to North America on 19 May 2013.[66] He started against the United States on 8 June 2013.[67]

2014–2017Edit

Zebo was added to the extended Ireland training squad for the 2014 Six Nations Championship on 20 January 2014.[68] He came off the bench for Ireland Wolfhounds in their friendly against England Saxons on 25 January 2014.[69] Zebo was added to the Ireland squad for the 2014 Six Nations fixture against Italy.[70]

Zebo was named in the Ireland squad for their 2014 Tour to Argentina on 19 May 2014.[71] He started the first test against Argentina on 7 June 2014.[72] Zebo also started the second test against Argentina on 14 June 2014, scoring a try.[73]

Zebo was named in the Ireland squad for the 2014 Guinness Series on 21 October 2014.[74] He started in the 29–15 win against South Africa on 8 November 2014.[75] He also started in the 49–7 win against Georgia on 16 November 2014, scoring a try.[76] Zebo started against Australia on 22 November 2014, scoring the opening try in the 26–23 win for Ireland.[77]

He was named in the Ireland squad for the opening rounds of the 2015 Six Nations Championship on 1 February 2015.[78] He started against Italy on 7 February 2015.[79] Zebo started against France on 14 February 2015.[80] He started in the 19–9 win against England on 1 March 2015.[81] Zebo started against Wales on 14 March 2015.[82] England's failure to score enough points against France meant Ireland won the 2015 Six Nations Championship, the first time Ireland have won back-to-back championships since 1948–49.[83]

Zebo was named in the 45-man training squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup on 24 June 2015.[84] He came off the bench in the first World Cup warm-up against Wales on 8 August 2015, scoring a try in the 35–21 win for Ireland.[85] Zebo started the second warm-up against Scotland on 15 August 2015, scoring another try and earning the Man-of-the-Match award in Ireland's 28–22 win.[86] He was selected in the final 31-man squad for the World Cup when it was announced on 1 September 2015.[87] Zebo started in the final warm-up game against England on 5 September 2015.[88] He came off the bench during the opening pool game against Canada on 19 September 2015.[89] Zebo started the second pool game against Romania on 27 September 2015.[90] Following an injury to Rob Kearney, Zebo started at fullback in Ireland's 16-9 win over Italy on 4 October 2015.[91]

On 20 January 2016, Zebo was named in Ireland's 35-man squad for the 2016 Six Nations Championship.[92] On 7 February 2016, Zebo started at Fullback against Wales in Ireland's opening match of the Six Nations.[93] On 27 February 2016, Zebo came off the bench in Ireland's 21-10 defeat against England. On 26 October 2016, Zebo was named in Ireland's squad for the 2016 end-of-year rugby union internationals.[94] On 5 November 2016, Zebo started in Ireland's test against New Zealand at Soldier Field, Chicago, scoring a try in a 40-29 win that was Ireland's first ever against the All Blacks.[95]

On 23 January 2017, Zebo was named in the Ireland squad for the opening two rounds of the 2017 Six Nations Championship[96] and went on to start every game in the tournament for Ireland.[97][98][99][100][101] He was also selected in the squad for the 2017 Summer Tour against the United States and Japan.[102] He came of the bench against the United States on 10 June, scoring a try in Ireland's 55–19 win.[103] He also started in the first test against Japan on 17 June, but a knee injury ruled him out of the second test.[104][105]

British and Irish LionsEdit

Zebo was called up the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia squad as injury-cover for Ireland teammate Tommy Bowe on 8 June 2013.[106] He started against Waratahs on 15 June 2013.[107] Zebo came off the bench against Brumbies on 18 June 2013.[108] He started against Melbourne Rebels on 25 June 2013.[109]

StatisticsEdit

International triesEdit

Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result
1   Argentina Dublin Aviva Stadium 2012 November Tests 24 November 2012 Won
2   Wales Cardiff Millennium Stadium 2013 Six Nations 2 February 2013 Won
3   Argentina Tucumán Estadio Monumental José Fierro 2014 Ireland Tour 14 June 2014 Won
4   Georgia Dublin Aviva Stadium 2014 November Tests 16 November 2014 Won
5   Australia Dublin Aviva Stadium 2014 November Tests 22 November 2014 Won
6   Wales Cardiff Millennium Stadium 2015 RWC warm-up 8 August 2015 Won
7   Scotland Dublin Aviva Stadium 2015 RWC warm-up 15 August 2015 Won
8   New Zealand Chicago Soldier Field 2016 November Tests 5 November 2016 Won
9   United States Harrison Red Bull Arena 2017 Summer Tests 10 June 2017 Won

International analysis by oppositionEdit

Against Played Won Lost Drawn Tries Points % Won
  Argentina 3 3 0 0 2 10 100
  Australia 2 2 0 0 1 5 100
  Canada 1 1 0 0 0 0 100
  England 5 2 3 0 0 0 40
  France 2 2 0 0 0 0 100
  Georgia 1 1 0 0 1 5 100
  Italy 4 4 0 0 0 0 100
  Japan 1 1 0 0 0 0 100
  New Zealand 3 1 2 0 1 5 33.33
  Romania 1 1 0 0 0 0 100
  Scotland 3 2 1 0 1 5 66.67
  South Africa 2 1 1 0 0 0 50
  United States 2 2 0 0 1 5 100
  Wales 5 2 2 1 2 10 40
Total 35 25 9 1 9 45 71.43

Correct as of 5 July 2017[110]

HonoursEdit

Presentation Brothers CollegeEdit

Cork ConstitutionEdit

Ireland Under-20sEdit

IrelandEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Zebo is the son of a Martinique-born French athlete, Arthur and his Irish wife, Cork-born Lynda.[111] His older sister, Jessika Zebo, is a project co-ordinator who has represented Ireland as a hurdler.[112] In May 2015, Zebo and his partner Elvira Fernández welcomed their first child, a son named Jacob.[113] In August 2016, the couple had their second child, a daughter named Sofia.[114]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit