Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 6°C Saturday 8 May 2021

CJ Stander: 'The physicality and passion for the jersey came through for us'

Munster’s number eight was outstanding once again at Thomond Park.

CJ STANDER WILL have to order in another batch of cabinets for his home in Limerick if he continues to amass man-of-the-match awards in his current fashion.

The Ireland-qualified number eight was superb again this afternoon as Munster scored four tries in a morale-boosting 26-13 win over Stade Français at Thomond Park.

CJ Stander makes his way down the tunnel Stander is fast becoming a legend in Munster fans' eyes. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Stander’s carrying wasn’t as rampant as it can be, but his work in the tight and on defence was exceptional. With Joe Schmidt watching on from the stands, this was yet another reminder of the Munster back row’s international potential.

While his first cap for his adopted nation is likely to come in the Six Nations, Stander was simply delighted to captain Munster to a win that restored at least some of their pride. Important work lies ahead in the Pro12, but this was a solid starting point for the revival.

“I think all the stuff we’ve worked on during the whole campaign and in the last few games came through,” said Stander afterwards. “The physicality and passion for the jersey came through for us. We knew what we wanted to do in the Leicester games and Stade away last week, but we didn’t finish it. Today it came through for us.

There was a lot of hurt. You don’t want to let each other down, the coaches down, and the supporters. We said it was going to come down to actions and it was good to get tries again and get points on the board.”

Stander’s second-half try put the icing on the cake in his own outstanding performance, while the bonus point was hugely welcome for Anthony Foley’s side in victory.

The frustration is that Munster have produced their finest European performance of the campaign only after their pool stage exit was confirmed in Paris last weekend.

“It’s a little bit too late,” said Stander. “It’s frustrating, but from our side we always knew what we wanted today. Everything came together today.

CJ Stander The Munster captain was in fine spirits after victory in Limerick. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We are a good team and we know what we want to do, boys always pitch up. Sometimes stuff doesn’t work, but when it comes together it’s good.”

Stander shook his head and laughed when asked if the fact that Munster were already out of the competition had lifted the pressure on them in the build-up to this game.

No, no, no. There was a lot of pressure on us. If you make a mistake, you can see it in the boys. People says it’s a dead rubber, but there was a lot of pressure on us to get the supporters back,” said Stander.

“They’re the people that stand in the rain, that pitch up all the time. There was pressure on us to give a performance for the jersey and the coaches. They give us everything week in, week out and we did it for them and the supporters today.

“Rugby is physicality. You need to be physical game in, game out. That’s something we have to drive for the next few weeks.”

Foley’s Munster earn bonus-point win to lift spirits at Thomond Park

Beautiful tries from Earls and Zebo set Munster on their way to a bonus point today

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

Read next: