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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 17 October, 2018
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Season over early, but Stander excited by prospect of fresh start for Munster

The South African is looking forward to his countryman Johan Erasmus bringing ‘something different’ to the province.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

CJ STANDER HELPED his team sign off on a disappointing season with a very important consolation yesterday.

A convincing 31 – 15 victory over the Scarlets secured a Champions Cup place next season, meaning new Director of Rugby Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus will have the big European stage to perform on shortly after taking over.

Sixth place for Munster means the season is over for any player not planning to pull on an Ireland jersey later this summer, time for the captain to reflect on the campaign and what positives the two-time European champions can carry through the upheaval.

“From a development side, people stepping up to the plate across the board, juniors and seniors, everyone stepping up and knowing what is needed from them in a Munster jersey,” said the ever-diligent Ireland international.

“There are new people coming in. That excites me. That will always excite you. None of the boys have really met Rassie so it is going to be great next year when he comes in. He will bring something different so I am looking forward to that.”

Stander doesn’t know Erasmus on a personal level, and although their paths have crossed on a training field, Stander was just one of a number of young stars attempting to make an impression.

Munster’s Johnny Holland Johnny Holland's growing command of the number 10 shirt has been a late-season positive for the province. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

The South African back row was on the score-sheet again yesterday, but with Rory Scannell touching down twice, Johnny Holland kicking three conversions and Ronan O’Mahony grabbing a try as a replacement, Stander was quick to highlight the rise of young homegrown talents in the Munster setup this season.

“A lot of the younger boys, the juniors you can call them, have been stepping up to the plate in the last few weeks. It has been a tough time and there has been a lot of pressure, especially on the leaders and this can help us in the future, if we get to semi-finals or finals next year o the year after. There are a lot of learnings out of this season.”

“The conditions were wet, the ball was kept close so there were a lot of big hits, first-up tackles, a lot of big carries. We knew it was going to be that way. I was proud of the boys stepping out today.

“There were a lot of boys who had knocks that didn’t train during the week yet they came out and played the game.”

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Sean Farrell

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