The powerhouse presence of CJ Stander is a big reason that Munster are two from two in Pool One of the Champions Cup. The back rower has been the province's main ball carrier and he was at his belligerent best again last night as Munster and Saracens slugged it out in a game that could charitably be described as an arm wrestle. The defining moment of the game came when Saracens prop Rhys Gill was sin binned for this incident with Stander in the second half:
Munster cashed in on the sin binning to the tune of eight points and victory was set. At the time of the incident, BT commentator Lawrence Dallaglio initally felt that Gill's challenge didn't warrant anything other than a yellow card but his co-commentator; Brian O'Driscoll disagreed and made the point that had there not been other players under Stander then Gill could have been looking at a straight red. Dallaglio relented upon further viewing and agreed that a yellow card was merited.
It was left then, to another BT commentator and former England international Ben Kay to take to twitter today and admonish Stander for what he considered play acting, taking up the baton from Saracens second row Mouritz Botha:
Rugby is a tough physical game. Don't let diving ruin our lovely game! #StopDiving
— Mouritz Botha (@mouritzbotha) October 24, 2014
@windsorclaire @mouritzbotha watch the reaction of cj stander after Rhys Gill spear tackle and all will become clear! #Paindelay #lazarus
— Ben Kay (@BenKay5) October 24, 2014
@Colliniho @mouritzbotha totally agree but I love everything that Munster stands for and faking an injury is very un-Munster-like
— Ben Kay (@BenKay5) October 25, 2014
Un-Munster indeed. Of course in countless games across the world there in no way exists loads of scenarios where players take tactical injury breaks to shift momentum or perhaps make the most of a challenge to get the referee's attention.
It's probably football's fault.