The CJ Stander Experiment – Should Ireland Do It More Often?


The talk of social media yesterday was Ireland’s blocking of Stephen Moore to Munster.

Munster were not allowed to bring the Wallabies captain in due to the fact that Ireland felt it would effect the growth of Irish player development. Munster a few season ago however found a way around this by bringing in highly rated former underage South African captain – CJ Stander. Stander was no regular project player. Stander was touted as a future Springboks captain. His move to Munster from the Bulls came as a huge shock and has proved to be a massive coup for the province. Stander isn’t like players like Richardt Strauss and Jarred Payne who became eligible, Stander was brought here at a very young age as a genuine project for Irish rugby. In the past three seasons he has gone from strength to strength – scoring many important tries and winning more man of the match awards than he knows what to do with. Stander is expected to be picked for Ireland’s Six Nations squad and the sky is the limit for the South African back-row. Should Ireland look into making this a regular thing?

The lure of European rugby has always been tempting for Southern Hemisphere players due to the competitive salaries and the difficulty with breaking into the international set-up. There are hundreds of young players that can be tempted over here and potentially boost Ireland’s already small pool of professional players in comparison to other tier 1 nations. Many Irish people feel that these players aren’t ‘Irish’ and it shouldn’t be the direction but I can tell you – I personally know CJ Stander and can tell you he will give as much for that green jersey as anyone before and after him. Take a look at the mighty All Blacks. Over the years how many of their players have come from Island decent? How many All Blacks have come from Tonga, Samoa etc?

Jonah Lomu – Tongan descent.

Ma’a N0nu, Sonny Bill Williams, Tana Umaga, Jerry Collins to name but a few – All Samoan decent.

Just saying.

It’s four years to the next Rugby World Cup. A project player needs three years to become eligible for Irish selection. Get moving IRFU.

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