CJ Stander Explains The Huge Difference Between Provincial & International Rugby


CJ Stander added another award to his long list of accolades last night.

The Munster and Ireland back-row has been a revelation over the past couple of season’s winning Munster’s player of the year award twice and being named the IRUPA player of the year a few months back. Last night he added The Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year 2016 to that list.

The South African born star made his debut in February for Munster in a man of the match performance against Wales and has been a key member of Joe Schmidt’s starting line-up ever since.


His return to South Africa didn’t go quite according to plan in the summer but he has more than made it up for it with a sensational November series, standing out as one of Ireland’s key men, grabbing a brilliant try in that famous win over the All Blacks in Chicago.

When asked about those two tests with the world champions and what he has been able to take from it, the Munster man had this to say.

“There’s a lot of positives but the biggest thing is the belief, in yourself and the people around you. Everyone believes in one goal and one specific thing you have to go and do on the pitch; the belief in everything you do the whole week and that it’s going to work.

“New Zealand are the best team in the world but if you step up against them and make sure everything is 100 per cent you can do it, but if you make a mistake they’re going to penalise you.


Stander also noted the huge difference between playing for his club and playing international test games for Ireland.

“What I’ve learned in international rugby is that everything has to be instinctive.You can’t stop and think ‘I’m going to do this’ because while you’re thinking they’re doing something different. So everything has to be on instinct.

All their players work on instinct and that’s why they had the edge for a while but now I’m looking forward to the next few seasons.”

Stander’s instinct hasn’t let him down yet. He already looks like a player that’s been playing test rugby all his life. A super talent for both club and country, he’s only going to get better.

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