Simon Zebo will not look back on his career with any regret after having the “balls” to leave Ireland and fulfil a dream of playing in France.
The 27-year-old Munster full-back announced his decision to leave his home province at the end of the season and sign for a French Top14 club, believed to be Racing 92, knowing he was likely to be exiled from the Ireland Test squad.
That exile came sooner than expected when he was omitted from Joe Schmidt's squad on Thursday for the November internationals.
Speaking after Munster's narrow 20-16 at Connacht last night, Zebo insisted he would not have any regrets about removing himself from the Ireland selection process by signing a contract overseas.
“I wouldn't say regret because I'm the one who decided to be in that position and it's just like anything, playing for Munster was a dream of mine since I was a child, playing for Ireland was a dream, playing for the Lions, you know, and playing in France was a dream,” Zebo told RTE Radio.
“I've French family, I'm half French and I like the way rugby is played over there, so it was an obvious fit for me to go and try and experience. I've a very short career so I wasn't going to let it go by without trying it.
"At least I've the balls to do it, I won't shirk away from a challenge so I won't look back on my career with any regret.”
Zebo, who declined which of his French suitors he would be signing for, insisted there was no turning back on his decision to fulfil that dream of playing rugby in France.
“That's a big decision. I know where I'll probably end up, but until something is in place or announced I can't really comment on it much further.
“I worked very hard to be in the position I'm in, I've great support around me from coaches and team-mates, everything.
“It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make in my life, but it's something I want to attack and experience.
“I'll stick with it and give it my best shot. I'm actually quite stubborn with what I want to do, so if I decide to do it I'll definitely go ahead and do it.
“It's always been a dream of mine, I'm going to go and pursue life in France and hopefully enjoy that, give it everything I have.
“First, there's a massive season that I'm very excited about to be a part of with my home team, Munster.”
Zebo revealed he had spoken with Ireland boss Schmidt about his squad omission.
“I spoke to Joe and he explained his reasons around it. Obviously you know that could potentially happen but it's never easy when you're not involved in the squad.
"If I wasn't able to compete or I didn't think I was good enough then it would just go over my head but it's a level I should be at and I've proven I should be at and that's why it's disappointing, but I'll back the boys.
“They'll go at it hammer and tongs and there's people like Darren Sweetnam who've been on fire for a long time now and he's deserving of his shot.
"There's Chris Farrell, who's been unbelievable since he came here and Andrew Conway, all exciting. I'm delighted for all the Munster lads and hopefully we'll give it a crack over November and I'll be supporting them from the couch.”
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