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'People will be disappointed in South Africa at losing him' - Stander on Erasmus

The Munster captain says Munster’s new director of rugby is ‘a great guy.’

THERE WAS APPARENTLY some confusion over the Rassie Erasmus appointment in Munster yesterday.

As with Anthony Foley, CJ Stander was sent in front of the media before the signing of Erasmus was officially announced.

CJ Stander Stander says Rassie Erasmus is 'a great guy'. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

It left the Munster captain in the odd position of having to deny that he knew Erasmus was coming on board. Only several minutes later, Foley contradicted Stander by stating that the players had been told that very morning.

Mixed messages certainly, and though he had to maintain a position of feigned ignorance, Stander was characteristically accommodating in answering questions about Erasmus.

“He’s South African,” said Stander with a smile. “I’ve met him a few times, he’s a great guy. It wasn’t in a working place where he had to coach me or anything. He’s a good guy, a great guy, all the stuff I heard from him was great.

“If it’s him it’ll be great, if it’s Paulie [O'Connell] or whoever comes in it’ll be great. I will probably know 10 minutes before you guys know.”

Erasmus is well regarded in the coaching world and will bring a fine pedigree as a head coach with him to Munster alongside his more recently-established strengths as an organiser, planner and strategist with the South African rugby union.

“Big,” said Stander when asked what kind of reputation Erasmus has in South Africa. “He was the director of Springbok rugby and everyone knows what he has and what he can do.

“He wasn’t there for not being good, he captained the Springboks and he came through the coaching ranks so he’s a big deal. If he comes here a lot of people will be disappointed in South Africa at losing him.

CJ Stander Stander will be a key player for Erasmus in the coming seasons. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I haven’t played underneath him, so all the teams he coached, he coached the Cheetahs when I was younger and there’s always attention to detail and he always has something against every team that he plays against.

“He’s a guy who knows that a team starts at the grassroots so that’s good; in Munster anyway you have to know where you came from so that’s something we’ll enjoy.”

While it has been confirmed that Anthony Foley will remain on as head coach under Erasmus next season, assistants Mick O’Driscoll and Ian Costello will leave the province, while the futures of Jerry Flannery and Brian Walsh are uncertain.

Erasmus is attempting to convince the highly-rated South African defence coach Jacques Nienaber to join him in moving to Munster next season, but Stander says that whatever about the goings-on off the pitch, this squad of players must step up to the plate if Munster are to return to their former heights.

“It’s about concentrating on ourselves because the group we have now is going to go into next year and the next year. So there’s a lot of boys signed for another two, three years and we have to look at ourselves as a group and look after our futures.

“Our futures – that’s the thing. We can take our destiny in the next two, three years, so if someone steps in or steps out, we’re going to have to look after ourselves.”

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Murray Kinsella

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