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Stander Set For 100

5th October 2017 By The Editor

Back row CJ Stander. ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

A number of overseas signings have etched their way into Munster Rugby folklore since the inception of the professional era – Jim Williams, Doug Howlett, Paul Warwick, among others. South African native CJ Stander is another on course to do so and his 100th Munster cap this weekend will mark just the latest in an ever-growing list of achievements since his Munster debut against Scarlets at Musgrave Park, Cork in November 2012.

A number of overseas signings have etched their way into Munster Rugby folklore since the inception of the professional era – Jim Williams, Doug Howlett, Paul Warwick, among others. South African native CJ Stander is another on course to do so and his 100th Munster cap this weekend will mark just the latest in an ever-growing list of achievements since his Munster debut against Scarlets at Musgrave Park, Cork in November 2012.

Joining initially from Super Rugby’s Blue Bulls on a two-year deal, much to the delight of Munster [and more recently Ireland] fans, the back row stalwart has since made Ireland home, signing a further two contracts to date, his latest seeing him remain at the province until at least June 2018.

Acclimatising to his new environment, in his first season Stander made just four starts in a total of seven appearances but a brace against Glasgow Warriors on his first Thomond Park outing signalled to the Munster faithful that this guy was one to watch. Their hopes were realised the following season when Stander made 15 starts, scored five tries and muscled his way into the starting side for Munster’s Champions Cup semi-final against Toulon in April 2014.

From that point on, the former South Africa U20 captain became a nailed-on starter in the red jersey and defined what it means to ‘grasp an opportunity’ on his meteoric rise to the international stage.

A blistering start in 2014/15 saw him score three tries in the opening two games against Edinburgh and Benetton Treviso, ultimately ending the season with seven man-of-the-match awards, inclusion in the 2014/15 PRO12 Dream Team and becoming the first overseas signing to win Munster Player of the Year.

In hindsight, those achievements were but a taster of what was still to come from Stander. His emergence as a leader was copper-fastened in 2015/16 when he assumed the role of captain with the injury-enforced absence of Peter O’Mahony, and, having qualified for Ireland through residency rules, the powerhouse stormed onto the international stage with a man-of-the-match performance against Wales at the Aviva Stadium in the 2016 6 Nations.

Such unrivalled exploits in red and green that season also made history on the awards front. On top of winning the 2016 Guinness Rugby Writers Ireland Player of the Year, CJ became the first player to receive double honours at the IRUPA Awards – Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year – and the first to claim Munster Rugby Player of the Year for a second successive year with a total of seven tries in 21 appearances, four man-of-the match awards and a second inclusion in the PRO12 Dream Team.

And the 27-year-old has shown no signs of letting up. Just last season he secured a European Player of the Year nomination and showcased his talents on the world stage with the British and Irish Lions, demonstrating grit and determination against six Super Rugby franchises before bulldozing his way into the matchday 23 for the final two Tests.

Incidentally, were it not for his ever-increasing international duties – 16 Test caps to date – Stander would certainly have reached the century milestone a whole lot sooner, and this weekend he becomes the eleventh player of the current squad to have made 100 Munster appearances alongside Stephen Archer, Keith Earls, Billy Holland, Ian Keatley, Dave Kilcoyne, Conor Murray, Tommy O’Donnell, John Ryan, Duncan Williams and Simon Zebo.

And what better way to mark it than with a scalp over your fiercest rivals on their home patch?!

One thing is certain, CJ and company will target nothing less come 2pm this Saturday.

Munster v Racing 92 Tickets

Europe comes to town when Munster play their first home game of the Champions Cup against Racing 92 on Saturday October 21 at 5.30pm.

Tickets from:

  • Adults €20
  • Juniors €10
  • Students €10

Tickets can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 061 421103

Hospitality

Executive Box and Thomond Suite packages are now sold out for this game

1978 Suite packages remain is available and include:

  • East Stand match tickets
  • One course meal
  • Match programme
  • Complimentary drinks
  • Preview of the game with Munster Rugby player

Price: €175pp

For more information and bookings contact Anthony Morrissey on 087 6202530 or click here for a contact form.

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