Rugby

Watch: Emotional CJ Stander Proved Just How Much Playing For Ireland Meant To Him

Watch: Emotional CJ Stander Proved Just How Much Playing For Ireland Meant To Him

Ireland gave England an almighty hammering today at the Aviva. It was telling that in his post match interview that Player of the Match Robbie Henshaw listed CJ Stander's retirement at the top of his list of motivations for this match. Andy Farrell also singled Stander's retirement as inspiration. Beating England is its own reward, and Ireland badly needed a big result today, but it was obvious that Ireland felt that they owed CJ a victory today.

Of course it was Stander's final match for Ireland. Stander has given all of himself in his five years soldiering in the back row for Ireland. It was a pleasure to see his teammates attempt to return the favour today.

Today was about Henshaw's defense Sexton's surefooted kicking and Furlong in the scrum, but it was also about Stander, who was his usual immense self. He made nine tackles and carried eight times for ten metres. Look at him repel the three tackles from three Englishmen here, including Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola. The joy is written all over his face.

At full time, Stander was in tears. A lot of guff has been spouted this week about Stander - some were calling him to be benched because he was retiring, others were questioning his motives. It is patently clear from his emotions after the match just how much the green shirt meant to him. To quote one of sport's greatest clichés, CJ Stander owes us nothing.

Advertisement

A hoarse Stander gave an emotional interview to Sinead Kissane after full time. He spoke about honestly about how much it meant to him to player for Ireland and how much he wanted Ireland fans, and his own family, to be there for this victory.

'I just wish my family could have been here, my wife and my daughter. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, as CJ stander, for all the support for everything you've done from me.'

Irish fans were just as emotional to say goodbye to Stander.

Advertisement

Advertisement

This video of Stander giving a thumbs up to an empty Aviva as he walked off the pitch for the final time really hits us in the feels.

SEE ALSO: Ireland Player Ratings As Farrell's Side Finally Banish England Demons

 

Donny Mahoney
Article written by
Donny Mahoney is Chief Sportswriter and one of the founders of Balls.ie

You may also like