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'From the day he arrived he did his best to buy in to our culture, now he's creating culture'

Peter O’Mahony is hoping to create a few special memories before CJ Stander bids farewell to Munster.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

PETER O’MAHONY TODAY paid tribute to CJ Stander’s ‘selflessness’ as the 30-year-old prepares to hang up his boots at the end of the season.

Stander revealed this morning that he would retire from rugby and leave Munster to return to his native South Africa, where his wife and daughter are currently staying while the back row is in camp.

“He explained his reasons and they’re very valid ones, very noble ones in my opinion,” said O’Mahony after noting the news had come as a shock to him.

“Everyone would respect his decision. The man has given an incredible amount to Ireland, Munster as well, and Limerick.”

Asked what made Stander a good team-mate, his fellow Munster and Ireland back row said:

His selflessness, professionalism. From the day he arrived in Munster he did his best to buy in to our culture and now he’s creating bits of our culture.”

The Corkman, who is set to return from suspension as Ireland face England this weekend, added:

“He brings an incredible edge. He’s an immaculate trainer. Incredibly coachable, his ability to listen and learn new skills…

“Just a competitor, we’ve all watched him play 50-odd times for Ireland and 150 for Munster, he’s just competitive with everything and that’s what made him such an incredible team-mate.”

O’Mahony also labelled Stander an ‘incredible friend’ while singing his praises. Ireland skipper Jonathan Sexton echoed that sentiment as he prepared for his final Test in green with Stander.

“He’s a great person, first and foremost,” says Sexton.

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“Just his relentless attitude, his preparation, how tough he was. I played against him numerous times and been on the receiving end of a few carries. He has got the utmost respect of anyone who has played with or against him and when you finish up that is ultimately what you want.

“As a player you want to win things, but the older you get the more you realise you just want your own teammates, first and foremost, to respect you and for the opposition to think that, ‘yeah, he is a pretty good player’.

“And I’m pretty sure that he has achieved that.” 

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Sean Farrell

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