CJ Stander Explains How & Why He Learned The Irish National Anthem


What a legend.

Anyone that has a problem with the residency rule and thinks that player’s abuse it needs to watch CJ Stander in action and see just how much it means to him to play for Ireland.

The South African born flanker made his debut for Ireland in the Six Nations this year and hasn’t looked back, becoming an instant hero in a man of the match performance against Wales.


The Munster star made headlines that day as he was captured on camera belting out Ireland’s national anthem and he has now revealed in detail how he learned the lyrics and what possessed him to do it. Speaking on Off The Ball, Stander had this to say.

I just felt that everyone has always supported me down here in Munster. And when there was the opportunity for me to play (for Ireland), everyone supported my decision and I just felt that I wanted to show them that I appreciated everything.

It took me a while to get through the words. In the beginning, my wife googled it. There’s some Australian guy – I don’t know where he got it from – but he sings it in an Australian accent. He learns you different words – not the Amhran na bhFiann words – but it’s words that are similar.

And then we got to the hotel, the Shelbourne, and said to Donncha Ryan, ‘I think I need a bit of help.’ He literally sat in my room for about four hours til I sang it full out without making any mistakes. There’s stages where it got awkward, where I was sitting there, and I think James Cronin was in the room, and I had to sing to two boys. I was like, ‘this is awkward, I don’t want to do it.” He’s like ‘You’re going to sing. I’m not going to take no for an answer.’

If it wasn’t for my wife or for him, I wouldn’t have stuck with it or know it that good. I think it’s something special and I enjoy it. It means a lot to me and I can see how much it means for the supporters… I think I had to take a bit of honey to make sure the voice chord were ok.


Stander also spoke of his love for Limerick and Irish culture in general.

Everyone has been very good to me and my wife. Limerick City is a big part. I think it’s the Irish culture. I won’t say it’s just Limerick, I think it’s the whole of Ireland.

Just the way that people pull you in and make you feel part of something that you feel you’re not supposed to be part of. And how they treat you as a person. No one is different from anyone else.

An absolute hero both on and off the pitch. Ireland are lucky to have him.

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