Rugby

CJ Stander Fights Back The Tears After Last Big Munster Game

CJ Stander Fights Back The Tears After Last Big Munster Game

CJ Stander played his final European game for Munster on Saturday as his side exited the Champions Cup with defeat to Toulouse.

In the absence of Peter O'Mahony, Stander - who is retiring from rugby at the end of the season - captained Munster on his 50th Champions Cup appearance.

Despite a valiant effort, Munster came up short against the 2019 French champions, losing 40-33, adding to the heartbreak of last weekend's Pro14 final defeat to Leinster.

In an interview with Munster's in-house media, Stander fought back the tears as the thought hit him that he'd played his last big game at Thomond Park.

"I'm going to miss this place," said Stander.

"Just before I arrived here, I remember watching a European game here. I think they were playing Edinburgh. Those flags in the tunnel...

"I was just sitting at home and thinking 'I would love to run out here one day'. Today was special, to be captain of a side like this. It would have been great to get some silverware but it wasn't to be for me or Billy [Holland].

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"They are going to get some silverware. I can't wait to sit in the stand with the full 26,000 and watch that happen."

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Stander added that he was proud of the performance against one of Europe's best teams.

"It was a tough week to come back from a loss like that [against Leinster]," he said.

"To put in a put in a performance like that, you can see the squad really dug deep. We have a special coaching staff, the backroom staff boosted the team during the week and kept a positive vibe. You could see it today, we came out fighting, were unlucky with a few calls, we scored some brilliant tries.

"If we'd got the win, I don't think anything would have changed for me. I'm still proud of the team and the effort. We gave it our best chance. We really stuck it to them."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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