“I didn’t expect it to be so quick or so blunt"

Simon Zebo admits he was surprised by how quickly he was callously cleaved from the Ireland squad.

Just over a week after news of Zebo's departure from Munster broke last October, Schmidt informed him he was surplus to requirements for the November internationals.

The IRFU's selection only players plying their trade within the Irish system would be considered.

The exile continued into the Six Nations as Schmidt refused to consider the Munster man for selection.

“I didn’t expect it to be so quick or so blunt,” Zebo admitted in an interview with RTÉ.

“I wouldn’t be bitter or anything, the squad have done really well. I wish everyone there all the best and I would have obviously loved to have been involved in the Six Nations or the November series.

“You have to accept that some decisions have consequences and that is the way it had to go for me.”

Defending his decision to make the move to France, Zebo told Donal Lenihan: “I came to the decision early on in my career that I’d always like to play in France.

“And the opportunity to play for Racing 92 came up and I had to weigh up a lot of things, family, the age profile of my kids and where I was in my career. It just came down to timing. It’s only an hour away from Cork and it’s a really competitive club with exciting and talented players.

“I’ve no intention of going to France and chilling out and being a squad player for the rest of my contract. I fully intend on pushing as hard as I do here in Munster. I want to win silverware.

“I see myself coming back. I wouldn’t come back to play for Leinster, anyway. Munster’s my home and it always will be. I hope this isn’t the end of my connection with Munster and I definitely see myself coming home in the future.

“I’m going to do my best to get picked for Racing and also get picked for that World Cup in 2019 — and if not, 2023.”