Monday 1 May 2017

Stander and Murray up for top award

CJ Stander. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
CJ Stander. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Two Munster players are the only Irish representatives in the Six Nations Player of the Tournament nominees for 2017 with Conor Murray and CJ Stander up for top honours.

It has been a massive season for both men so far, and they have led the charge for Munster in the Pro12 and Champions Cup where they are on the brink of a potential double.

But for Ireland Stander and Murray helped the country to magnificent victories against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. And in the Six Nations they continued their outstanding consistent performances.

Versatile back-row Stander (26) scored three tries in his five Six Nations appearances this term.

The South African recruit was playing in only his second Six Nations Championship tournament and has just 15 caps for his adopted country, but has become the cornerstone of the Irish pack and he has done likewise for Munster.

Stander was voted IRUPA Players' Player of the Year last season, and this term he has also been nominated for the EPCR European Player of the Year, after some impressive performances in the Champions Cup and a string of man of the match awards.

For scrum-half Murray (27), this season has been another massive step forward in his career.

His performance against the All Blacks in Chicago was outstanding, and his general display have earned him the tag as the best No 9 in the northern hemisphere.

Like Stander, he looks a certainty for British & Irish Lions inclusion later in the summer, and many have also pinpointed Murray as a potential captain on that tour to New Zealand.

Irish Independent

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