Friday 18 October 2019

'It’s something that's probably there if you want to go look for it' - CJ Stander on Springbok doping controversy

19 September 2019; CJ Stander during an Ireland Rugby press conference at the Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Yokohama, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
19 September 2019; CJ Stander during an Ireland Rugby press conference at the Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Yokohama, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Given that CJ Stander was infamously told that he was too small to ever make it as a Springbok, he could so easily have taken a wrong turn and fallen into the same trap like so many young South African players continue to do.

The issue of doping in rugby is not going away any time soon and it's one that has dominated a large part of the agenda during week one of the World Cup.

Boks star Aphiwe Dyantyi's failed drug test just before the tournament has reopened Pandora's Box, which has heightened the scrutiny around anti-doping at the World Cup.

"When I was young I was out in the sticks, I never really came across a lot," Stander insists.

"It’s something that, if you want to go look for it (drugs) and you want to do it, it’s probably (there).

"I don’t think it’s a great thing to do at all. It’s a great sport and we need to keep it clean.

"In Ireland anyway they look after all those things and make sure everyone is on track, so again I think it’s something we need to get out of the sport.

"I was always told I was too small. I just made sure I trained hard and trained well, made sure I looked after my body.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

"If they want you to get taller, you can’t. You can just get stronger."

Craven Week, which is a South African schoolboy rugby tournament is also in the spotlight again, as six young players who were tested, all showed up positive results for anabolic steroids.

Stander is adamant however, that back in his day, regular testing was carried out and it was less of an issue then.

"I played Craven Week probably 11 years ago," Ireland's No 8 recalled.

"The most you got then was the eggs you got in the morning for the protein.

"I was tested when I played Craven Park. They were quite on top of it. Probably in the last few years they had more testers out – I don’t really know what happened in the last few years.

"If you want to go down that path, I don’t stand for it at all. It’s influence from the outside, maybe."

Stander is set to get the nod ahead of Jack Conan for Sunday's opener against Scotland in Yokohama.

The Munster man was outstanding against Wales in the final warm-up game at blindside flanker, but he is expected to revert back to his more normal No 8 position.

"We know we need to make sure to push each other in training, so we have trained well together," Stander said of his battle with Conan.

"We need to train well again now to get into that jersey, to push each other and push the team. We’ve got to make sure the team is ready to go and you’re set into that groove with the rest of the back row, if you’re selected.

"It’s been great. We've trained three days – in hot weather and wet weather. In between that we had a few off days.

"A few lads went to Tokyo, a few lads went to watch the sumo wrestling. I went to the arcade. You know the tipping point where you put the coins in?

"In Ireland you only put one coin in and it drops down to the bottom. Here you can put 15 coins in and they all come down. Jean Kleyn, who was next to me, actually got the jackpot.

"I think we threw in a thousand coins and got 500 out – it’s a loss, but it’s a great day."

Stander and Co will be hoping to hit the jackpot again come Sunday.

Online Editors

The Left Wing: Welcome to Irish rugby's biggest week - is an upset on the cards?

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport