“Dreams Do Come True” – CJ Stander’s Final Ireland Interview Is A Tough Watch

“Forever grateful.”

Ireland bid farewell to CJ Stander yesterday evening as the Munster back-row played his final game in green – and what a send-off it was for the South African-born star.

Stander shocked the world this week when he announced his retirement from the game at the end of the current season, with yesterday’s 32-18 win over England his final game for Ireland.

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The 30-year-old has long been a fan favourite on the Emerald Isle ever since arriving back in 2012. He completed his residency at the end of 2015 before going on to make his debut against Wales in the Six Nations in 2016, amassing 51 caps along the way.

After the win yesterday, Stander spoke incredibly well about his time here as he gets set to return home to his family in South Africa in the coming months.

“The staff, everyone in the backroom (team), for me, I’m forever grateful,” Stander said.

“Dreams do come true, and I worked hard for that jersey, to be in this jersey. The boys made it easy to be in it, week-in, week-out, to get up and perform for the team and the staff, I’m just very grateful to the public and the supporters of Ireland.

“It’s been a pleasure for me and my family. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the messages and the kind words. I haven’t got through all of them but it means a lot. They are great people and there is a special team here, things are going to happen for this team and it’s going to be a privilege to watch them.”

Stander added that he wanted to give “everything” to the green jersey and spoke about missing having fans in the stadiums.

“I want to give everything for that jersey because I feel everything has been given to me that I needed to perform in the last few years,” he said.

“I just wish my family could be here, especially my wife and my daughter, and the supporters.

“We spoke about it at half-time. We said imagine that’s the score and we’re running in at half-time, this place would have erupted. Those are the special days and I can’t wait for them to come back, be in the seats and cheering the boys on.”