Rugby

"My Wife Googled It" - CJ Stander Tells People More About How He Learned The National Anthem

"My Wife Googled It" - CJ Stander Tells People More About How He Learned The National Anthem

CJ Stander spoke on Off the Ball tonight after a historic year for Irish rugby, in which Ireland became the first team to beat Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in a calendar year since Clive Woodward's relentless England team of 2002 and 2003.

When Stander starred in the Six Nations in the spring, he was routinely namechecked as one of the brightest spots from what was a fairly humdrum and low-key tournament for Ireland. Following the adventures in the second half of the year, 2016 has taken on a very different complexion.

And the internet couldn't get enough of Stander blasting out the national anthem before his debut against Wales. We've all heard the old joke about the London-born granny ruler standing to attention for Amhran na bhFiann before a soccer international, waiting for patiently for it to an end, before turning to the player beside and saying, "Jaysus Christ, I hope ours ain't as long!"

It couldn't have been any different with Stander who was word-perfect in his passionate rendition. It was publicised at the time that Donncha Ryan was Stander's determined tutor. He revealed more about it on Off the Ball tonight.

Initially, his wife googled and found some Australian man who teaches people the anthem by replacing the Irish words with other similar sounding words.

I just felt that everyone has always supported me down here in Munster. And when there was the opportunity for me to play (for Ireland), everyone supported my decision and I just felt that I wanted to show them that I appreciated everything.

It took me a while to get through the words. In the beginning, my wife googled it. There's some Australian guy - I don't know where he got it from - but he sings it in an Australian accent. He learns you different words - not the Amhran na bhFiann words - but it's words that are similar.

And then we got to the hotel, the Shelbourne, and said to Donncha Ryan, 'I think I need a bit of help.' He literally sat in my room for about four hours til I sang it full out without making any mistakes. There's stages where it got awkward, where I was sitting there, and I think James Cronin was in the room, and I had to sing to two boys. I was like, 'this is awkward, I don't want to do it." He's like 'You're going to sing. I'm not going to take no for an answer.'

If it wasn't for my wife or for him, I wouldn't have stuck with it or know it that good. I think it's something special and I enjoy it. It means a lot to me and I can see how much it means for the supporters... I think I had to take a bit of honey to make sure the voice chord were ok.

Advertisement

On the show, he also spoke about his love for Limerick city and Irish culture more generally. Touchingly, he praised people here for pulling you in and making you feel part of something that "you feel you're not supposed to be part of."

Everyone has been very good to me and my wife. Limerick City is a big part. I think it's the Irish culture. I won't say it's just Limerick, I think it's the whole of Ireland. Just the way that people pull you in and make you feel part of something that you feel you're not supposed to be part of. And how they treat you as a person. No one is different from anyone else.

Listen to the interview from about 40 mins onwards.

Read more: Ranking Every Taoiseach In Order Of Their Ability To Piggyback On Irish Sporting Success

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

You may also like