Rugby

Uproar As CJ Stander's Captain Challenge Ends Game

Uproar As CJ Stander's Captain Challenge Ends Game

Thomond Park, even without a crowd, bid farewell to three of its favourite sons tonight as CJ Stander, James Cronin and Tommy O'Donnell played their last game at the ground as Munster went back to the top of the Rainbow Cup north table and put themselves in prime position for a place in the final.

Surprisingly, it's possible that the fond farewell for three legends of the province have been overshadowed by the events on the pitch. Johann van Graan's men overcame the Cardiff Blues with a hard fought, topsy turvy 31-27 win, in what was a must-win game.

A late Keynan Knox try gave Munster the lead, but the game swung with a Munster captain's challenge from CJ Stander that ended the game.

With the clock in the red, Cardiff were awarded a penalty. A thrilling game was going to get the end it deserved until Stander used the controversial experimental rule brought in for the Rainbow Cup competition.

It turned out Cardiff's Lloyd Williams had kicked the ball into his own ruck, resulting in a Munster free-kick, and the game was over. A damp squib ending that would have left a Thomond Park crowd confused if there was one in attendance.

It's a massive win for Munster, who go back to the top of the table and must beat Zebre away in two weeks to reach the final of the competition against a South African opponent.

While there's nothing to say the province wouldn't have held on and won the game anyway, the way it ended left a bad taste in the mouth for many of those watching, and it's fair to say the "Captain's Challenge" isn't the most popular rule even introduced in rugby.

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SEE ALSO: The Last Munster Team To Win Silverware: Where Are They Now?

captain's challenge

Michael McCarthy

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