CJ Stander has not even entered retirement, but he has already turned down an offer to come out of retirement.
Prior to the Six Nations game against England in March, the 31-year-old announced that he will hang up his boots at the end of the season, and return to South Africa. There followed speculation that Stander could pull those boots on again once he has returned home.
In an interview on the Late Late Show at the weekend, Stander said "I think I have got a lot of rugby left in me, for sure. I’d say at least seven years". Some took that as a come-and-get-me-plea to South African teams. It was a misinterpretation. He was simply saying that his body still felt good.
On Tuesday, Bulls coach Jake White spoke with the Munster backrow about playing for his side. Stander moved to Ireland from the Bulls nine years ago. However, Stander turned him down.
CJ Stander turns down offer from Bulls
"I thought it may be the case because previously I had known of this situation, but didn’t know if it still was the case," White told Keo.co.za.
"I made contact with CJ and let him know that I wanted him to be part of the Bulls. He said he was flattered and humbled and appreciative that there was such an interest in him, but he confirmed that the Irish Rugby Union retirement policies didn’t allow for a return to professional rugby as it would compromise and prejudice any retirement fund payouts.
"He reiterated his love for rugby and that his decision was based on wanting his children to be near their family in South Africa and to experience their cousins, uncles, aunts and grand parents.
"He said that his comment on having seven or eight years left was in relation to how his body felt. He was attempting to explain that his decision to retire had nothing to do with him having had enough of rugby or his body having had enough and that his body felt great and that from that perspective he had ‘seven or eight years’ left in him."
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