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Friday 9 December 2016

Stander gets 'emotional' and does talking on the pitch

Ireland’s CJ Stander. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland’s CJ Stander. Photo: Sportsfile

CJ Stander looks and sounds like one of those foreigners who could be more Irish than some of the Irish ourselves.

"I was very emotional," he said.

"It was my first time getting out there in front of the president (Higgins), all the supporters you know."

The accolade of the official Man of the Match came from grinding work on his debut.

The flanker carried the ball 23 times for what looks like a meagre 40 metres.

All of them came close to the ruck and the gain line was made more often than not.

The decision Stander made to come from South Africa over three years ago has been a good one.

He is part of the Munster furniture now as their captain and their newest Ireland international.

"Yeah, I wish my family were here, but when I heard I was in the team it was a bit difficult for them to get over.

"My wife (Jean-Marie) was here. I think she's still crying, I'm going to see her now.

"Everyone back home, my phone is going mental, I'd big support from there. You can't put into words the support.

"It's an unbelievable experience in this place, in front of this crowd. I never thought I'd get this opportunity.

"This week, was one of the most emotional weeks I've had. Walking down from the hotel, to the pitch, it's goosebumps stuff," he said.

The Munster captain led by the example of actions.

In fact, coach Joe Schmidt had noted how Stander had been quieter than expected in the lead-in to his first cap.

"It was great to get into the camp. But, I'm a new face and I don't want to start talking out of place," said the newest Irish international.

"I want to see how the set-up works. I've probably been a bit quiet but as they normally say down south, 'I try to show on the pitch what I can do.'"

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