Simon Zebo has taken Irish rugby by storm since bursting on to the scene a little more than three years ago. The Corkman's brand of stylish, free-spirited play has garnered him many fans, in and outside of Munster, and he is well on his way to becoming a fully-fledged Irish sporting superstar. But do you know all there is to know about Simon Zebo? Here are a few facts about one of Cork's favourite sons.
Simon Zebo was born in Cork a day shy of St. Patrick's Day, 1990. His father, Arthur, is a native of Martinique, an offshore region of France. Also a considerably talented athlete, Arthur would have competed at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games in the 800 metres had he not sustained a broken leg in the lead-in to the games.
Athletic ability clearly runs in the family. Simon's sister Jessika has represented Ireland as a hurdler.
As a youth, Zebo dabbled in a range of different sports. Most of us are accustomed to seeing him on a rugby pitch but if things went differently we may very well have seen Zebo lining out in a different red jersey than the one we're used to. "Simon had great speed, was very light on his feet and had a natural talent for the game...a real loss to Cork hurling, let me tell you", was the opinion of Brother Patrick Fitzgibbon, chairman of Simon's childhood hurling team.
Zebo made his first Munster appearance in April 2010, before making his Heineken Cup debut as a 20-year-old in December 2011. He bagged his first points in Europe's toughest competition with a hat-trick of tries against Northampton in a man of the match performance a month later.
Zebo has so far amassed 48 caps for Munster, scoring 100 points during that time. After making his Ireland debut in June of 2012 Zebo has collected 5 caps and went on to score his first try for his country playing at fullback against Argentina on 24th November 2012, scoring a second against the Welsh in this year's 6 Nations.
His talents have made an impression on the continent too, with several big-spending French teams said to be suitors for the young Irishman. Zebo, though, has maintained he'll stay loyal to his home province.
Simon was named as Munster's Young Player of the Year earlier this month, as well as the 'Cork Person of the Month' in February (thanks, we imagine, in no small part to that flick).
Speaking of Zebo's moment of genius against the Welsh, we hope he becomes accustomed to seeing that clip played endlessly in highlight reels until the end of his career. As with anything awesome, it has also been immortalised in Lego form.
Zebo's talents aren't confined to just a rugby pitch, the Corkman is also equally at home behind the decks and he regularly plays DJ sets at The Secret Garden in Havana Browns in Cork.
The foot injury sustained by Zebo during the 6 Nations most likely robbed him of a spot on the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia but fear not, you'll get your chance to see Simon in action for Ireland this summer as he has been named in the squad for the national team's tour of North America.