Sunday 25 February 2018

Stander ready to lead drive to final

Munster back-row forward CJ Stander. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Munster back-row forward CJ Stander. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

CJ Stander says he is confident that his ankle injury is in the past and that he's ready to lead the line against Ospreys tomorrow.

Stander also has a Lions tour to New Zealand to plan for in the coming weeks, but after the team's recent disappointment in the Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens, he is anxious to play a big part in driving his team into the Guinness Pro12 final.

An ankle injury sustained against Toulouse in the Champions Cup quarter-final saw the South African No 8 miss three weeks, but after making his return to the starting line-up in Munster's next European knock-out game he is happy that he's ready for a big finale to the campaign.

"Yeah it's good, I played Saracens and Treviso, a lovely trip away, and we got ten days on our own with PJ (Wilson, strength and conditioning coach)," said Stander.

"That's exactly what I needed, to speed things along, get the bounce back in it. I got a few days off, I feel like a young 21-year-old."

It appeared as if the back-row had aggravated the injury in the final minutes against Saracens when he limped heavily, but it was nothing serious, he says.

"When I looked back at Saracens, I was heavily strapped, it was heavy, I was strapped in a position where it was just going forwards not going sideways - not that I step anyway!" he said.

"It was probably not 100pc, it was close to it. But after that I got a few days to concentrate on the ankle, all the small niggles, all of them are away now, first time in a long time I've that at the end of the season."

Irish Independent

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