Friday 28 July 2017

Stander knows Munster must improve ahead of difficult trip to Paris

The Top14 champions were always going to be a difficult prospect at home but Munster captain CJ Stander is now anticipating an ever tougher task
The Top14 champions were always going to be a difficult prospect at home but Munster captain CJ Stander is now anticipating an ever tougher task
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Munster will travel to Paris this weekend fully aware of the emotional and physical challenge that lies ahead in the French capital.

At the same time as Friday night's atrocities, Stade Francais were humbled at Welford Road as they got their Champions Cup campaign off to a losing start against Leicester.

The Top14 champions were always going to be a difficult prospect at home but Munster captain CJ Stander is now anticipating an ever tougher task.

"What happened is tragic. We saw what happened. It was very bad. I don't know if you saw but we wore black armbands," Stander said following his side's unconvincing bonus-point victory over Treviso on Saturday.

"It's something we have in the back of our minds. It's difficult but we have a job to do. It's not going to affect what happened anyway.

"We just have to go out there, play our game and respect the people of France. It's really tragic.

"This is something that can really gel a team, especially from their side. It's quite emotional. The French are emotional people anyway and we know that."

Dominated

Stander picked up yet another man-of-the-match award on Saturday and he admitted that having dominated the Italians for the majority of the game, his side were relieved to claim the bonus point at the death.

The South African was Munster's top carrier with an impressive tally of 18 - seven more than Simon Zebo and Jack O'Donoghue and 10 more than Braam Steyn, who topped Treviso's count.

In a game that was dictated by the Munster forwards, Stander again stood out and he insisted that the horrendous conditions played a major role in his side being unable to kick on after a bright start.

"The conditions were very tough. We didn't know what was going to happen or how the ref was going to blow the game but he kept it flowing. We were glad to get the bonus point," he maintained.

"We opted to play into the wind, it was our choice. We wanted to start off better than we did last year against Sale. The boys came out and started unbelievably but dropped off a little bit. I would say it was down to the conditions. We played all the rugby in the first half but didn't really get anything out of it."

Stander was a keen observer of Stade's performance on Friday but he is aware that his side face a different beast this weekend.

However, he is confident that having got their campaign off to an ideal start, Munster can travel to the French capital with confidence.

"I think the brothers came out and showed what we can do. We'll focus on the next round now and see what happens."

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