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Dublin: 1°C Friday 5 March 2021

Stander continues to deliver devastating performances for Munster

The South African-born powerhouse was once again man of the match yesterday.

“I THINK MY wife picks them anyway!”

CJ Stander yesterday took to seven the number of man-of-the-match awards he’s won in the Guinness Pro12 this season as Munster secured their place in next weekend’s final with a nail-biting 21-18 win over the Ospreys in Thomond Park.

CJ Stander Stander's ball carrying was exceptional again yesterday. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Jean-Marié Stander is not on the selection panel, but the jokes masks the fact that Munster’s number eight was again a deserving recipient of the honour.

The likes of Paddy Butler, Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer delivered standout performances too, but Stander’s ability to win the gainline across the course of more than 20 carries was vital for Munster.

“Yeah it was a good game,” said Stander when asked about his latest man of the match award. “I think the team played well and I just got a few good runs. It’s good to be in the final.

I think in the first half we played, but in the second half we gave them easy tries. They’re a good side, a quality side and we made small mistakes. I made a mistake at the bak of a scrum and they got points off it. Luckily we stuck with it until the end and we got the win.”

Munster appeared to be in a comfortable position twice in the second half of yesterday’s semi-final but the concession of soft tries to Rhys Webb and Jeff Hassler meant they were forced to endure a nervy closing few minutes.

The Ospreys scrum-half’s score came directly from a CJ Stander pass, the number eight scooping from the base of a defensive scrum and inadvertently sending Webb racing in for the score.

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“I think it could have gone both ways, you know,” said Stander of that try. “If I had got the ball to Zeebs [Simon Zebo] he would have been straight through but Rhys Webb is a quality player. He knows his way to the tryline, he knows how to score tries.

CJ Stander presented with his man of the match award by Ken O'Dea Another weekend, another man-of-the-match award. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“He got it and I was disappointed with that but luckily we got a try from Paddy Butler just after that so we came back. That was easy points again, but if that pass goes off in another game we get five or seven points off it.”

“We gave them easy chances but they’re a good side and they forced themselves back into the game and at the end it was only three points,” continued Stander. “It was our small mistakes and they came back into it. It’s a cliché but you have to play for 80 minutes in a cup game, you need to take your points and it was disappointing, but that’s it.”

Munster will review those errors and lapses in tomorrow’s video session before they switch their focus towards Glasgow Warriors, who had some nervy moments themselves against Ulster on Friday night.

Gregor Townsend’s side are full of attacking quality, but Stander believes that Munster simply need to concentrate on their own performance ahead of Saturday’s final in Belfast.

I just think we can’t give them easy outs and we’ve got to take our points. The three points, six points and nine points and then then the tries will come.

“We need to concentrate in the second half and don’t give them tries, just keep on playing the game we played in the first half today for the two 40s.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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