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Win-or-bust matches just made for us, insists Stander

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Munster's CJ Stander in action during squad training

Munster's CJ Stander in action during squad training

SPORTSFILE

Munster's CJ Stander in action during squad training

Munster forward CJ Stander is adamant that Saturday's crunch Champions Cup match against Saracens is the sort of encounter that players hope to experience when they join the province.

Successive defeats to Clermont Auvergne may have put Munster's backs against the wall but the South African insisted that this is when the Reds are at their best.

"It's cup rugby. We have to win the next two games. Saracens are a great team and they play great rugby. That bonus point against Clermont is important - at the end of the day any point is good for you," he said.

"We are going out there to play our game and win the game. If we don't win that game we can say goodbye to our hopes."

Stander produced his fourth man of the match performance in the 31-7 bonus point win over Zebre in Parma last Saturday and he believes that victory leaves Munster in a good mindset as they prepare for London.

"First half was good, the second half just got mucky. There were small mistakes here and there from both sides so it slowed down a bit," he said.

"We wanted to play a high tempo game but that is the way it happens.

"We just wanted to come out and get the win, the four points - the bonus point is extra. It is going to help us at the end of the season and it was good to get a win before the Champions Cup.

"It was just a matter of keeping on doing what you are doing. Play the Munster way now and get around the corners - keep it in their 22. For the first ten or 15 minutes of the second half we went down to their tempo. But we stuck at the game and got the bonus point."

Stander said the whole squad got a boost when Keith Earls was passed fit to make his first appearance of the season, while the return of Irish prop James Cronin from a shoulder injury was also a boost.

"They had a great impact. They came on in the second half and brought that extra bit of flair to our game," he said.

"Jamesie is a strong scrummager. Then you look around and you see Earlsy and you know he is a magic man. It is good to see him back. It has been a long road for him and I am delighted for him."

Irish Independent