Stander confident Munster can fix discipline issues ahead of Castres clash
CJ Stander is happy that Munster’s soaring penalty count is not going to become a regular feature of their game. Going to Castres in the Champions Cup this weekend he reckons they won’t get on the wrong side of the referee.
“I don’t think that will happen. I think refs get an email every week telling them what to look for and to see what’s right and what’s wrong, and we were just on the wrong side of that conversation with the referee on the weekend.
“I don’t think our discipline is the worst in the competition – maybe at the weekend it showed up where it’s not supposed to go but we know that going to France we need a penalty count of less than six to win there. They’ve unbelievable crowds, the team’s great and they love their mauls and we need to keep the penalty count down to keep them away from scoring easy points.”
The battle for Munster will be to present that picture to the referee while Castres are trying to smash them. Meeting that physical challenge and staying onside is a battle in itself.
“In rugby I think if you look at the best players in the world they play on the edge of the game – it depends if you fall on the right or the wrong side,” he says.
“That line that you need to walk is a thin line so you have to make sure during the week that you fix what you did wrong on the weekend – make sure that you live on the edge but make sure you’re not letting the team down by giving away easy penalties.”
Stander also says that the match review of the didn’t throw up a raft of situations that the players felt would be too difficult to fix.
“I’d say there were one or two where people felt they were a bit done-in but it’s 50-50,” he says. “There’s different angles and that. But look, everyone stuck up their hands and out of the 13 penalties I think 13 guys said they could fix those penalties easily.
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“We’ll look at the referee (his likes and dislikes) but, as I said, the refs get a directive to go out every weekend and look at something specific. We just have to make sure that we don’t give him an excuse to penalise you because playing away is tough. He needs to run a straight and narrow ship and we need to get him to make the right call at the right time. We need to know what he’s hot on.”