CJ Stander says Munster must push on in Racing 92 test

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent



CJ Stander says Munster must push on in Racing 92 test

Munster's CJ Stander looks to get past Connacht second row Quinn Roux in their Pro14 clash at Thomond Park on Saturday night

STAND-IN Munster captain CJ Stander had extra motivation to ensure his side saw off Connacht in Saturday’s Guinness Pro14 interprovincial fixture at Thomond Park.

In 2015, Stander had skippered Munster in their first defeat to Connacht at Thomond Park for 29 years.

Ireland and Lions number eight Stander recalled that defeat on Saturday night after leading Munster to their 39-13 bonus point win over their interprovincial rivals.

In defeating Kieran Keane’s side, Munster ended a four-game losing run against their three interprovincial rivals.

The win was a timely boost for Munster who will qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup with victory over Racing 92 in their Round 5 fixture at the new U Arena in Paris this Sunday, 3.15pm Irish time (Live on Sky Sports)

Stander said: “It (2015 defeat to Connacht) is something that stays with you. You can’t get over that sometimes.

“I remember that day coming back in the changing room and everyone was down, Axel wasn’t happy at all. It stays in the back of your head. I felt that if I could lead a team from the front today then it wouldn’t happen again.

“As I said during the week, they played exceptionally well that year and at the end of it (the league) won it. That try they scored at the end (of the match to beat us) was exceptional. They were a great team.

“Against Connacht we made sure that we didn’t give them momentum in their carries. We wanted to stop them. They had a few good plays and showed that they can hurt teams.

“You don’t want to lose that’s for sure especially in the interpros. We did quite well last year, but zero from four is not good enough.

”We spoke about it this week and I said it, if you want to get selected going into Europe and for the Irish team, you have to win these derby games.

”You need to play well because the other guy is going to play his game and play well. You have to look after you own job.

“Losing is a habit. It doesn’t matter on the scoreboard if you lose momentum and lose the contact area that’s going to keep on going; hopefully this can push us on, we can go to Paris and push on from what we have here.

“This is going to give is a boost and we just need to make sure that all the boys are fresh going into Sunday against Racing 92.”

Stander was pleased with Munster’s second half display against Connacht when the home side was backed by a stiff breeze.

“In the second half all of the things came together and we just put them under pressure, out the ball behind them and let the wind do the rest of it.

“Keats (Ian Keatley) played unbelievable, same with Zebo, Conway, the back three, Earlsy, that’s what they do every week for us and that is what we expect of them.”

Following Sunday’s clash with Racing in France, Munster host another Top 14 side, Castres Olympique at Thomond Park on Sunday, January 21 at 1pm.