Simon Zebo plans on introducing new Racing teammates to Barry's Tea

The Mayoral Reception for Simon Zebo was held at Limerick City Hall. Picture: Brian Arthur

By David Raleigh

Cork rugby star Simon Zebo has a number of priorities before beginning pre-season training with French kingpins Racing 92.

One of the first of those priorities is to introducing the elite French club to Barry’s Tea, he joked.

Zebo, a fluent French speaker, was honoured with a mayoral reception in Limerick - the home of Munster rugby, where the Corkonian thrilled the Thomond Park faithful for eight seasons.

“It's a huge honour for me and my family, and for my kids as well, who don't have a clue what's going on now. But, it'll be something cool that I’ll be able to tell them in a few years, that their father was recognised for some achievements though the years and representing a great club Munster,” Zebo said.

Despite not ruling out a return to Shannonside, the legendary winger and full-back offered that he's looking forward to hopefully winning European silverware with his French teammates, something that alluded him in the red shirt of Munster.

Yes, it is hugely exciting to lace up the boots with a whole new squad and new coaches. That's going to freshen up everything in my rugby career, and hopefully I’ll get a run of games playing in Europe, because I love the European competitions so much.

Despite fellow Cork rugby legend Ronan O’Gara departing Racing for the New Zealand Crusaders, Zebo is looking forward to hooking up with fellow former Munster player Donnacha Ryan, who joined the French side last year.

Zebo joked: “I'd say he’d want me to be his roommate, but I’d be comfortable with anyone really, having the language and things like that, it’s easy for me to communicate with a lot of the other French boys, so I’ll have to bring some Barry's Tea to keep Donnacha happy.”

Zebo who will forever be remembered on the Thomond terraces for his game-changing tries and electrifying pace, hasn't ruled out a return to Munster.

“Yes, I would definitely look to that. I think a lot of that decision making would be based around my family and things like that, and how well the first year or two go (in France).”

I’ll reassess then at that point, and see where I’m at in my career, see what I have achieved in the next couple of years, and see what’s (put) there on the table.

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