Former Irish Footballer Complains About CJ Stander Playing For Ireland
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Former Irish international footballer Stephen Hunt is the latest person to complain about CJ Stander and the residency rule.
Writing in his column for the Irish Independent, Hunt says “CJ Stander doesn’t seem very Irish to me,” and stresses that Ireland must protect it’s sporting identity.
Hunt says he was delighted as an Irishman for Stander and Ireland when he grabbed his third try against Italy last week, but doesn’t agree with the back-row lining out for Joe Schmidt’s side, as he feels his is depriving an Irish player of a playing for his country of birth.
When CJ Stander scored the third try of his hat-trick last week, I was out of my seat and absolutely thrilled as an Irishman, and for the player. I don’t know him but I knew his story. He doesn’t seem very Irish to me
As I got back in my seat, I thought about the lad – I don’t know his name but I feel for him – sitting on the bench, or sitting at home, who had been deprived of a cap so CJ Stander could play for Ireland and score a hat-trick against Italy.
This is an Irish lad who has played his schools and club rugby up and down the country, who thought he had a clear pathway to the green shirt. That honour has been snatched away from him so we can sign a brilliant South African who has lived in Ireland for three years.
There were English and Scottish-born players who jumped on the bandwagon to play football for Ireland, and I certainly did not resent them joining the squad at the time. I always welcomed the likes of Liam Lawrence with open arms because I had no fear about fighting for my place, and was pretty ruthless in that regard. It didn’t matter who they were.
I won 39 caps. Could it have been 50? I don’t know, but, looking back, I do wonder and I do feel for those rugby boys whose Irish careers may have been hindered by Stander. He must feel that the IRFU have let him down, even if Stander’s performances are benefitting the Ireland team.
The midfielder goes on to say that Ireland while he’s aware the ruled are different in rugby and Ireland are doing nothing wrong- they must as a nation concentrate on homegrown talent, or risk losing their national identity.
What do you think of Hunt’s comments? Do you agree, or are you behind Stander 100% of the way?