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Stander points to calm heads after Munster's dramatic win in Sale

The South African back row was man of the match at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Stander was man of the match in Munster's win.
Stander was man of the match in Munster's win.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

“I’VE GOT GOOSEBUMPS, guys coming over here and supporting us, you know? That pulls you though the last 10 minutes, so we have to thank the supporters.”

CJ Stander might have been sharing his gratitude with Munster’s travelling fans in the aftermath of yesterday’s 27-26 win over Sale, but it’s certain that those same supporters will be sharing their thanks with the back row all week.

The former South Africa U20 captain delivered the latest in a string of fine performances for Anthony Foley’s side to claim the man of the match award at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Stander featured in the passages that preceded all three of Munster’s tries, launching his body into contact with ball in hand no less than 20 times. He also produced a lengthy linebreak in the first half as the Sharks struggled to deal with his physicality.

That said, Munster were clearly second best in the collisions in the opening half, showing defensive frailties that will have encouraged Saracens ahead of Friday night’s round two meeting at Thomond Park.

At half time, everyone was a bit disappointed with themselves,” admitted Stander to Sky Sports post-match.

“Axel [Anthony Foley] just came in and said ‘Listen boys, we can play, we know how to play. Just keep the ball and put the pressure on them.’ The boys came out, Paul [O'Connell] led the team and Peter [O'Mahony] also.”

Magnus Lund and Mark Easter tackle CJ Stander Stander's carrying was immense for Munster against Sale. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Munster looked to be as surprised as anyone at Sale’s effectiveness in the first half, as Steve Diamond’s men won the contact and prospered at the breakdown, leaving Munster stunned and trailing 23-7 at the break.

They came out physical,” said Stander. “In the first half, we didn’t even have the ball, I think we were 32% [possession]. We just said to ourselves in the second half, we have to be physical over them and I think it worked out in the end. We got the win.”

Indeed, Munster did a far better job of hanging onto the ball in the second period, nowhere more crucially than in the final passage leading up to Ian Keatley’s match-winning drop goal.

Stander outlined that Munster had calm heads at the death, understanding that their opening would come.

“We were just saying ‘keep the ball, put them under pressure,’ Because we thought the [team] that had the ball were getting the rewards, getting the penalties. So we just kept the ball and put it all on Keatley.”

Saracens warm up for Thomond Park with four-try win against Clermont

Watch Ian Keatley channel ROG’s spirit to nail the winning drop goal for Munster against Sale

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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