Sunday 23 July 2017

Munster need to handle big-game pressure better, insists Stander

Munster back-row forward CJ Stander. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Munster back-row forward CJ Stander. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Daragh Small

CJ Stander says the progress that Munster have made this season has shown them exactly what they need to do to get back to winning silverware.

The 27-year-old back-row said that the harsh lessons learned from the Champions Cup defeat to Saracens are being used to drive Munster on to their first Guinness Pro12 title in six years.

They are getting ready for a semi-final showdown against Ospreys next weekend and the South African, who is set to make his Lions debut next month, says they are in a good place going into the Thomond Park clash.

"We know what we need to do now to get to that point we want to be up there at that level again," said Stander.

"What we have learned from that game, we have talked a lot about and we just need to handle pressure a bit better and put more points on the board.

"There are a lot more guys pushing for that jersey now and it makes for great competition in the squad."

Stander is one of three Munster players picked to tour New Zealand this summer with the Lions and he can't wait to don the red jersey having grown up watching their great clashes.

"The memory I had most was when they played in South Africa at Loftus Versfeld. I was at the match and that was one of the times that I saw the guys really wanted to perform for the jersey and it was something special," said Stander.

"It is a great opportunity. At first when we heard it we were so into the Champions Cup semi-final that we didn't have time to celebrate it.

"After that game, there was a bit of disappointment. But then we could really enjoy it. So now I am just looking forward to getting into the Pro12 final, winning that and getting onto the plane."

Irish Independent

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