Wednesday 19 December 2018

'All the sacrifices have been worthwhile' - CJ Stander signs new three-year contract with the IRFU

CJ Stander of Munster
CJ Stander of Munster
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

CJ Stander has turned down big money offers from France to commit to Ireland and Munster for the next three years.

The South African-born back rower had been linked with a mega-money move to Montpellier but instead will remain at Thomond Park until June 2021.

He said: "Following a lot of speculation and unfounded articles in the media, I am delighted to announce that I have signed a new three year contract with the IRFU through to 2021.

"My intention was always to stay with Munster and Ireland throughout this process having settled well in Limerick with my wife and within the Munster family.

"The coaching setup, ethos and work ethic within both camps is tremendous and I'm very excited at the prospect of playing my part in achieving great things through hard work and determination with both squads.

"My wife and I took a leap of faith and have made a lot of sacrifices to be here but it has all been worthwhile especially given how much of a privilege it is to wear the Munster and Ireland jerseys when given that responsibility. Ireland is a special country in which to live and play rugby and I'm fully aware of that.

"The Munster and Ireland fans have been fantastic to us since we arrived and my continued focus will be to do my best for them and both teams when called upon."

According to reports, the billionaire-backed Top 14 club was prepared to offer Stander €840k-a-year but the 27-year-old has chosen to back the commitment he made when he joined Munster in 2012.

He has been a fixture in Joe Schmidt's team since qualifying to play for Ireland in 2016, earning a spot on the Lions tour last June and coming off the bench in the final Test against the All Blacks.

He has captained his province in Peter O'Mahony's absence and has been a pivotal member of their side and a massive fans' favourite.His connection with the province, initial commitment in moving to Ireland and desire to play at the 2019 World Cup for his adopted country, has proven strong enough to keep the French side at bay.

The announcement of the deal comes less than a week after the IRFU secured the services of O'Mahony and Tadhg Furlong until the summer of 2021.

The Ulster duo of Rory Best and Iain Henderson have yet to agree new contracts but they are expected to sign on the dotted line in the near future.

IRFU Director of High Performance, David Nucifora, commented: "CJ has made a huge contribution to both Munster and Irish Rugby. It has not been an easy or straight-forward road but he has shown great determination and commitment in both red and green and continues to perform at a very high level week in and week out."

Munster Rugby CEO, Garrett Fitzgerald, said: "Coming off the back of Peter's news last week we are again delighted to retain the services of a key member of our squad with CJ signing up to the province and Irish Rugby for the next three years.

"His contribution to Irish Rugby has been immense and this is recognised further with an IRFU contract. CJ has been an incredible addition to our squad on and off the pitch and it is great that he will continue to play an important part in our future."

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