More good news for Reds as Stander set for new deal
CJ STANDER looks set to give Munster a major boost by agreeing a new deal with the province.
After this week's announcements that Paul O'Connell and Keith Earls both reached agreements with the IRFU to remain with Munster on two year-deals, the Irish Independent understands that the 23-year-old is likely to follow suit.
Stander, who was signed as 'project player,' becomes Irish-qualified after next year's World Cup and has already spoken of his desire to represent Ireland.
The South African arrived from the Blue Bulls in 2012 and has struggled to make an impact on the first team this season, but following a meeting with Munster officials, it is believed that Stander has been informed of the specific areas of his game that need improvement.
The back-row's current deal runs out at the end of this season and, with Munster having secured the services of Robin Copeland from Cardiff Blues next season, speculation was rife that Stander would be seek more playing time elsewhere. Stander was dropped from Munster's Heineken Cup match day squad for last weekend's final pool game against Edinburgh and instead played for the 'A' side in Scotland where he scored a try to guarantee them a spot in the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup.
The former South African U-20 captain made a promising start to his Munster career last season when he scored two tries in a man of the match performance against the Blues at Thomond Park, but has yet to start a game in the Heineken Cup.
His wife Jean-Marie regularly trains at the University of Limerick's swimming pool as she bids to represent South Africa at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and it is thought that both are happy in Limerick.
Munster are yet to announce new deals for their coaching staff, but following contract renewals for several key players, Rob Penney and his back-room staff are expected to sign on the dotted line in the near future.
Meanwhile, Munster continue to be heavily linked with London Irish centre Eamonn Sheridan as they look to replace the France-bound Casey Laulala at the end of the season.
With Joe Schmidt this week admitting that Irish based players would be looked on favourably in selection decisions and Copeland being rewarded for his decision to join Munster with an Ireland call-up, Sheridan may yet be swayed to leave London Irish.