Holland backs Stander to be a success with Ireland
Billy Holland has played under several different captains during his nine-year Munster career and he believes that the latest one has what it takes to be a success at international level, writes Cian Tracey.
CJ Stander's deserved call-up to Ireland's Six Nations squad comes on the back of his consistency with Munster over the last couple of seasons and Holland has closely watched the powerful back-row grow into a real leader.
"When he came to Munster a couple of years ago, he could hardly speak English," Holland recalled.
"He had a night out in Cork, when he came first. We lost him or he lost himself, he didn't know where he was staying. All he could say...he couldn't even say it actually, he called the guide dogs the blind dogs, the house was near there. So where he's come to in those couple of years is phenomenal.
"CJ does most of his talking on the pitch, he wears his heart on his sleeve, he carries so well for us.
"I'd love to see him get an opportunity for Ireland during the Six Nations to show what he can do at the international level, he's definitely good enough.
"What he's brought to his game in the last couple of months is that he speaks very well to us, he speaks emotionally before games.
"The actions have never changed, and that's why he's in front of you every week because there's no questioning that."
Munster will be without seven of their key players during the Six Nations period but Holland insists that it is a sign that the province are moving in the right direction.
"If you have a big contingent at the national camp, it means you're going well as a squad," the versatile forward maintained.
"Leinster over the last few years have been going very well and they'd have the majority of the (Ireland) squad which you can't have any qualms about.
"You have to play well for your province before you play for Ireland. Your province has to play well, to achieve something, and then the next step will happen.
"So if we have a lot of guys at national camp, it means Munster are going well."