Stander's Irish future still in doubt

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:01
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Reports emerging have put a figure on how much Christiaan Johan 'CJ' Stander was being offered – at least initially – by the IRFU in their ongoing efforts to keep him in Ireland.

Pressure has been heaped on the IRFU in recent months, as negotiations for the services of Stander and Peter O’Mahony appeared to have hit a roadblock.

The two back rows are among Munster’s most prized assets, yet the IRFU has so far failed to lock down contracts with the pair, an issue which has made national headlines in Ireland.

Both are considered stalwarts in the Irish province, O’Mahony, in particular, being seen as the natural spiritual successor to Paul O’Connell.

Stander, a native of South Africa, has come to be one of the club’s most loved players on and off the pitch and has firmly committed to Ireland publicly since making his international bow last year.

Both back rows represented the British and Irish Lions during the summer of New Zealand, and their stock has never been higher.

Reports on Sportsjoe.ie however, claim that the IRFU offered Stander just €260,000 per annum, literally a fraction of what he could demand in the UK or France. That figure – if accurate – was just €20,000 more on his previous contract.

The province have already lost Simon Zebo. The 27-year-old winger and fullback attracted the interest of several European clubs who offered terms that Munster and the IRFU were unable to match despite "both the province and the Union making every effort to retain the player with substantial improvements made to his existing deal,"

The loss of one of the back rows would be a massive blow to Munster and indeed Ireland. The loss of both would be unthinkable.

Stander joined Munster in October 2012 on a two-year contract, making the move from Super 15 side the Blue Bulls in South Africa.

The back-row forward has captained the Blue Bulls at Under-19 and U21 level as well as South Africa at School and U20s level.

By Ian Cameron, Rugbypass