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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
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Stander ready to meet fire with fire in red-hot Principality atmosphere

The Munster number eight is looking to make another big impact against Wales this weekend.

CJ STANDER WASTED little time in making a big impact upon his return from injury against France last week, and now the Ireland number eight is relishing the chance to play in the red-hot Cardiff atmosphere on Saturday.

Stander showed no ill-effects from the nasty facial injury he suffered on the opening weekend of the championship by producing a tireless display against Les Bleus, making 18 carries and 12 tackles across an all-action 80-minute performance.

CJ Stander with Romain Ntamack and Guilhem Guirado Stander was outstanding on his return from injury against France. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

His return to the Ireland back row was a major fillip for Joe Schmidt’s side and now named to start again alongside Peter O’Mahony and the recalled Sean O’Brien this weekend, Stander is looking forward to what promises to be a thrilling game against Wales.

“The last time we were there the roof was closed and people really brought it,” he recalls. “I really enjoyed it, as it’s a place where the crowd really gets into it. 

“It’s going to be a great game, it’s one of the games in the championship that we really want to be involved in.

“It was good to be back [against France], when you’re not involved you miss it. It’s a great atmosphere, and great to get back into the game again.”

On his performance against France, Stander says he was pleased with some aspects of his game as he was forced to shift to the openside position after the loss of Josh van der Flier to injury.

“I think I did some good and some bad things,” he continues. That’s how the game works.

It’s happened a few times now at Munster that I’ve moved to openside and I enjoy that as well, it’s a bit of a different game. A few good carries, good defence and just great to get back into the jersey and enjoy it.

In addition to the physical edge he brought against France, Stander could be heard on the referee’s mic encouraging team-mates at any stoppage in play.

“I’ve done it for a good few years to be honest, and so do a lot of the other boys. It was just that when I was at openside the ref was quite close to me.

“I felt bad for him because that’s all he could hear all the time. But as a back row we try to bring that energy, at scrum and lineout time, because the boys have to work hard.

CJ Stander The Ireland number eight pictured at Carton House today. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Bestie [Rory Best] being a leader, he’s right in the middle there at the scrum, so it’s to give them energy and build constant positive pressure. If it helps, great, and they haven’t complained yet, so we’ll keep on doing it.”

Stander, who will win his 32nd cap this weekend, adds: “Sometimes if you look around and someone needs a gee up that helps them, and sometimes I’ll feed off someone giving energy to me.

“That definitely helps us when bringing the physicality, and that’s something as a team we use. We want to get out there and play our game, and make sure we can help make the job easier for each other.”

While Wales are bidding to complete the Grand Slam, Stander insists there’s no shortage of motivation for Ireland in a high-stakes game, with Schmidt’s side retaining an outside chance of defending their championship on the final weekend.

“There’s a lot riding for both teams this weekend, they want to win a Grand Slam but we want to finish well.

“It’s rugby, both teams want to win, and it comes down to who performs best on the day. Going out there it’s a big game with a lot riding on it.” 

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey on The42 Rugby Weekly as Ireland bid to spoil Wales’ Grand Slam party in Cardiff, and the U20s target their own piece of history.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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