CJ Stander Opens Up About His Critics In Telling Interview

CJ Stander has opened up about the criticism he has received over playing for Ireland in a telling interview.

The South African born star has been targeted in recent weeks by a number of disgruntled fans and pundits in relation to World Rugby’s residency law’s, with many of them questioning his connection to Ireland.

There has been much debate from both sides of the coin, but as far as Stander is concerned ‘it’s like water off a ducks back’ and his only concern is to ‘putting the jersey in a better place.’

In a telling interview with Ruaidhri O’Connor of The Independent, Stander has opened up about playing for Ireland, his critics and the British & Irish Lions among others.

“I do understand why they say that. In the beginning, I wondered ‘why are they using me as a poster-boy?’ but I am now at that level that I am playing and people want to use me,” Stander says in relation to people criticising the fact that he plays for Ireland.”
“Luckily, stuff like that doesn’t bother me. People have opinions, they’ll always have opinions and I’m not going to change that.
“All I can to do is play weekends and prove them wrong really, to keep on ploughing forward.

Stander says he understands there’s two sides to it, but is just concentrated on playing as hard as he can for both Munster and Ireland.

“There’s both sides to it and I understand their point, but I understand mine and what it’s like for everyone within the rule.
“We’re just playing by the rules, as long as I’m performing and on the pitch putting the jersey in a better place then that’s great.
“If not, then I won’t be selected and I won’t be there any more.
“It’s a good debate, and there’s a bit of a vibe going on but it doesn’t really bother us: the players and people close to us don’t talk about it.
“I get a lot of people in Limerick especially telling me about this, almost angry about it. They think people are attacking me. I just always tell them ‘what can you do?’ I don’t mind it, so you don’t have to mind it.
“They look after me, I want to give something back to them and I want to give something back to Munster, the coaches, the people who put down the money for me.
“The only way for me to do that is to play as hard as I can in the Munster and Irish jersey.”

Stander has admits the Lions is a goal of his, but right now the focus us Munster and the getting ‘this band of brothers to a point when we’re winning trophies.’

“It’s not something you can think of in a week like this,” he says.
“I know there’s a lot of players here like me who haven’t won anything with Munster. I haven’t won any senior cups.
“We sat down at the beginning of the year and we put down goals and I think the Lions is important, but it’s at the end of the season and a big thing to work towards but the big thing for us as a group and for me personally is to get this Munster team, to get this band of brothers to a point when we’re winning trophies.

You can read the brilliant interview in full here.

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