CJ STANDER HAILED the attitude of his provincial captain Peter O’Mahony after an intense 13 - 9 win brought a satisfying end to an otherwise frustrating Six Nations.
A regular in the shirt for Munster, tonight was the first time Stander was given the opportunity to wear number eight for Ireland. However, the change brought no visible disruption for Ireland – if anything, the opposite – as Stander and O’Mahony slotted into roles they usually perform in the red of Munster.
“I was sitting down, just getting my head together, and was suiting up for the parade when someone threw the 8 jersey at me and said: “you’re 8 now and you have to do it,” says Stander of the dramatic late reshuffle as he made his way to the team bus through the tunnel.
“It was quick but fair play to Pete, he stepped straight into the six position, which he has done in training quite a bit. Everyone in their certain positions knew what to do.
“I feel comfortable doing it and have played a few games there, but it is totally different here. During the week, I would train there once or twice and swap in with Jamie but, no, I was still in shock when I got the jersey.”
As for the performance of O’Mahony, who capped a magnificent performance by stealing a crucial English line-out on Ireland’s 22 minutes from the end, Stander had several hard slaps on the back for the Corkman he has effectively been keeping out of the team.
I think (his performance) was unbelievable. He’s the type of guy that if you throw anything at him, he’s going to attack it full-on.
“He’s got a lot of passion for that jersey and he works hard. I know what it means to him. He’s been working hard to get into the team and when he got his chance, he took it with both hands. I’m delighted for him. He’s one of the guys in the team that is a leader and he works so hard to get into his position.”
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