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'What a shock to us all' - Rowntree on Stander retirement

Graham Rowntree is confident Munster are developing players who can replace Stander.

Munster forwards coach Graham Rowntree.
Munster forwards coach Graham Rowntree.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER FORWARDS COACH Graham Rowntree said that CJ Stander will be a huge loss to the province.

But the former England and Lions forwards coach said that he’s confident Munster are developing players who will be able to replace Stander when he retires.

“What a shock to us all,” said Rowntree. “He’s a great bloke, a great rugby player, but a great bloke more importantly. We’ll miss him around here. Literally, some big shoes to fill.

What a loss. Gutted. So sorry to see him go. Delighted he is doing it on his terms but plenty of rugby for him to play before he does it.”

Rowntree said he was not privy to any contract details Stander might have had with the IRFU and would not be aware if everything was done to keep him.

“I’ve no idea about those details, I just heard the bombshell today so all I can give is my reaction to the news as well. We will miss him but hopefully we can give him a good send off in a rugby sense.”

Rowntree said that Stander had many attributes and a great leader.

“Day in day out every session he empties the can, every game he usually plays 80 minutes and gives everything in every training session. He’s such a good guy around the play, humble and professional but warm as well.

“He likes a bit of craic like everyone around here but he will be a big character to replace.”

Stander’s retirement comes hot on the heels of Munster’s longest serving player Billy Holland’s announcement to hang up his boots at the end of the season and Rowntree said they will lose a lot of experience.

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“Big characters, both guys I’ve grown to really like having admired them play from afar. Obviously, I got to work with CJ on the last Lions tour. I got to know Billy and how he operates.

“They’ve been great for the young lads and going to be tough to replace, but what we are finding is we’re developing guys who will be able to replace them.

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John Fallon

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