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Ulster Rugby CEO reacts as supporter banned for life following Simon Zebo abuse

Simon Zebo.
Simon Zebo.

Ulster Rugby have announced that they have banned a supporter for life due to abuse directed at Racing 92 player Simon Zebo.

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The province have also confirmed that a written apology has been sent to both Zebo and his club. The player has since tweeted, saying "Thank you @UlsterRugby".

Ulster CEO Jonny Petrie is understood to have contacted Zebo and took to Twitter after Ulster's statement was released.

"We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour @ulsterrugby or at any level of the game across the province," he said. "It's not what rugby is about, and certainly not reflective of the warmth and passion of the people that I have encountered already in my time here".

Zebo had said that the abuse directed at him during the January 12 fixture was "not on", while Ulster Head Coach Dan McFarland called it "totally unacceptable".

Speaking after Ulster's 26-22 victory, Zebo tweeted: "I hope my ears deceived me with some comments directed my way from the crowd".

Racing 92 said that their player had been targeted by "racist insults" during the game.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Ulster said that following a "robust investigation" they had "sanctioned a life-time ban on a spectator, for breaching our stadium regulations".

"We would like to thank the many supporters who provided information to assist our investigation," the club's statement read

"We are all very proud of our reputation as an inclusive club and the unacceptable behaviour of this one individual is not reflective of our supporters, or the values of our club.

"We have issued a written apology to Simon Zebo and Racing 92."

Former Munster star Zebo scored a try in the first half before being withdrawn at half-time

The ex Ireland international had become a pantomime villain to the Ulster fans after his contentious celebration during Racing'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.

Zebo was told to apologise for the incident by referee Nigel Owens at the time and issued a detailed apology to Lowry after the game after giving the young player his shirt.

The Cork man was audibly booed at Kingspan whenever he got the ball in the first half of Ulster's tie with Racing.

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.

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