Always welcome at Ravenhill: Ulster supporters rally round Simon Zebo as fan banned for life following abuse
Ulster supporters have rallied round Simon Zebo after a fan was banned for life following abuse directed at the former Ireland international.
Zebo had said that the abuse he suffered during the European Champions Cup fixture was "not on", while Ulster Head Coach Dan McFarland called it "totally unacceptable".
Ulster Rugby launched an investigation and on Tuesday announced that a supporter had been banned for life while a written apology had been issued to both Zebo and to his club Racing 92.
Zebo soon tweeted, saying 'Thank you @UlsterRugby' and fans reacted in unison, forming a chorus of support behind the winger, who had been their pantomime villain after his contentious celebration during his side's 44-12 victory over Ulster in Paris last October. He had pointed his finger at Ulster full-back Michael Lowry before crossing for Racing's fifth try of the game. The Cork man was audibly booed at Kingspan whenever he got the ball but in the wake of the abuse, fans were unequivocal in their support.
We are deeply sorry, disgusted and angry that you were abused at Ravers as you graced our pitch xxx— Joanne O'Neill (@joannedenise01) January 22, 2019
Christopher Toole made sure the ex-Munster man knew he was welcome at Ulster's Kingspan Stadium, a sentiment that was echoed:
Always welcome to ravenhill zebo they are not have the values of our great club and the rugbyfamily suftum #onceaulstermanalwaysaulsterman— christopher TOOLE (@1018ct) January 22, 2019
Can't comprehend how comments like that make you feel but can stand up against it like the vast majority of proud Ulster supporters #SUFTUM— Ian Craig (@DrIanCraig) January 22, 2019
Ulster Rugby were also widely commended for their swift handling of the situation.
Well done @UlsterRugby. As a dyed in the wool @leinsterrugby fan I was in Belfast that weekend and went to the match to see great rugby. Probably one of the loudest crowds I have seen at a match. Amazing atmosphere. Shame one person has done this. I'll go again!— Eamonn Aspell (@eaglepoint1998) January 22, 2019
Zebo left Munster to join Racing 92 last summer and, in line with the IRFU's policy to only select players who represent one of the four provinces, has not featured for Ireland since.
Belfast Telegraph Digital