CJ Stander Recalls Hilarious ’12 Pubs Of Christmas’ Trip To Cork When He First Arrived In Munster

Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor here at RugbyLAD and a proud Limerick man.
Jason Hennessy

“You can’t speak English.”

Not many people might know this but when Munster and Ireland number eight CJ Stander first arrived on these shores – he could barely speak a word of English.

Stander was born and bred with Afrikaans as his first language so when he arrived in Limerick, things were pretty difficult for him at the start.

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These days you probably wouldn’t even notice with Stander’s English absolutely perfect but before that was the case the 2017 British and Irish Lion ended up in a few tricky situations.

One such situation saw him lost in Cork after being picked up by one of the Munster lads to go down for a few pints.

“I had been here for five days, staying in the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick, and Barry O’Mahony picked me up and we went down to Cork. I think I had like €60, that was all I had with me.” Stander told us.

“We had a great night, as we always do, and it was the 12 pubs of Christmas. At pub seven, we went to one place and the boys were all upstairs. I went down to get food, got outside, but then the guy on the door didn’t want to let me back in.

“I didn’t have anyone’s number so I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t know where to go, if I took a taxi to Limerick, I’m not going to make it. I was thinking I would have to sleep in the street for the night.

“The guy on the door said, ‘There’s no way you play for Munster, you can’t speak English, I’m not letting you up there.’

“I hadn’t played a game, so it was fair!

“The only thing I remembered was that the guys in Cork lived close to the Guide Dogs place, where they trained the dogs in Cork. I got into a taxi and told the guy I wanted to go to the ‘Blind Dogs’. He eventually dropped me around two kilometres from the house and I saw Barry O’Mahony’s car, got into the house, and got home safe.

“That was the funny side of it. The boys thought they had lost me and I thought I had lost myself.”

You can listen to the full interview with CJ on this week’s episode of the Up and Under Podcast.

CJ was on hand today to announce the Tackle Your Feelings Pro app add-on as part of the #ImTakingControl campaign which encourages people to ‘Take Control’ of their mental wellbeing using principles from both sport and positive psychology.

Tackle Your Feelings (TYF) Pro is an add on to the existing TYF App and has been designed specifically for members of Rugby Players Ireland. Through TYF Pro, Players will be able to access sections that cover resources unique to the rugby playing environment: injury, transition and managing life in a high-performance arena are included as well as the existing TYF resources to help maintain their positive mental wellbeing.