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Munster holding firm over Ireland star Simon Zebo
ESPN Staff
December 3, 2015
Simon Zebo is tackled by Jonathan Joseph
Simon Zebo is tackled by Jonathan Joseph© Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Munster are standing firm in their attempts to hold on to Ireland international Simon Zebo, with interest from Top 14 side Pau reportedly increasing.

Zebo has attracted attention from several French clubs since he signed a three-year deal with the province in 2013. In November, The 42 reported the 25-year-old's CV had been distributed to several of Europe's big-hitters with his Munster contract due to expire next summer.

Pau, coached by former Munster backs coach Simon Mannix, is the latest club to be linked with a move for Ireland's Rugby World Cup star, while Toulouse were also thought to be lining him up as a potential marquee signing following the news their French international Louis Picamoles will leave for Northampton next season.

However, Munster boss Anthony Foley told the Irish Independent that all was being done to keep Zebo in Cork. "That is all being done in the background," Foley said. "I don't have any news on that at the moment. It's progressing."

Zebo can play either at wing or fullback and is a fluent French speaker, with his father a native of Martinique. He featured three times for Ireland at this year's World Cup and has flourished under national head coach Joe Schmidt.

However, he is not centrally contracted to the Irish Rugby Football Union -- something which could prove fundamental in future negotiations.

Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk last month, former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "I can't imagine that the IRFU would let Simon Zebo leave.

"He's an integral part of the team now, he's the number two full-back, he's one of the starting wings depending on which way the coach wants to go ... I can't see him slipping away to France.

"You never know, some of the money floating around in the Top 14 is off the wall. I don't see the IRFU making it easy for him to go."

© ESPN Staff

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