CJ Stander: "We just played the way Axel gave us"

After another Man of the Match performance, Stander was quick to point to the influence of the late coach

BY Adrian Collins 09:49 Sunday 8 January 2017, 9:49 8 Jan 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

CJ Stander had another impressive performance on Sunday as he picked up Man of the Match for Munster against Racing 92 in Paris. 

On an emotional day, the man whose shirt bore the same number as the late Anthony Foley showed just why he has become such a huge fan favourite as he helped his side to a 32-7 win in the Champions Cup. 

That victory leaves Munster top of their Pool, a huge turn around from where they were just 12 months ago. Speaking to Off the Ball's Dave McIntyre after the match, Stander praised the group spirit and the influence of Foley's coaching on a group who were well-drilled and have clicked in the last few months.

"We work hard for each other. Peter O'Mahony said earlier this week that we played the way Axel gave us the way to play, and I think everyone knows what that is. Everyone's clear on that, so we can, as Rassie always tells us, just go out and play the game."

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Looking back on the journey the team have made together over the last few years but in particular since October, Stander also stated that the group has been made stronger despite everything that has happened.

"The group we have now came through all of that and know what it takes to get it here, but also we're only four games in, there are still two to go.

"Three points [at the top] gives a bit of a cushion," added Stander "but if you slip up there, you're just back where you were last week."

Looking ahead to the games that are yet to come, Stander was also clear that Munster can't sit back, and still have areas where they need to improve despite the win. 

"I just think that in the first five mins of the second half [...] we just came out and lacked a bit of energy, especially going into the 22. We just need to switch on there and get the points on the board, play the game the way we want."

"I think we all know what we want in the game, we work hard for each other we work hard in the week so we get to the weekend and just go out there and enjoy the game.

"We learn from our mistakes. I said that a year or two years ago, that we're going to learn from our mistakes at some stage. It's working now, but also we're going game to game. Next week is going to be a different horse to saddle up again, because it's all up for grabs there. The guy who takes it away there is going to be set up in the pool and we don't want to disappoint ourselves again."

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