Munster need this URC title, says former stalwart CJ Stander

Munster players during warm-up ahead of last month’s United Rugby Championship game against the Stormers in Cape Town

Munster players during warm-up ahead of last month’s United Rugby Championship game against the Stormers in Cape Town. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published May 24, 2023


Cape Town — It is not only the Stormers that will be motivated in playing for the “mense” in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) final against Munster at the DHL Stadium, according to former Irish international CJ Stander.

The “mense” are, of course, coach John Dobson’s personal reference to the fans that have stuck by the Stormers throughout many lean years.

Stander, though, feels Munster also have a bigger cause to play for when they run out at the foot of Table Mountain.

The Irish side are a proud rugby franchise that has previously scaled Everest twice when they won two European Champions Cups back in 2005/06 and 2007/08.

It was part of a golden era for Munster with their last of three Celtic League titles - the predecessor to the URC - also being in 2010/11.

But that was more than a decade ago with Munster’s devoted fans having to endure their neighbours Leinster taking centre stage in both the URC and European Cup since.

That was until Munster edged out their rivals in an epic URC semi-final to book their trip to Cape Town.

“Being in Dublin this week, I could feel that Munster need this,” said Stander, who played 149 matches for Munster.

“Not just for the team, but Cork, Limerick, and the Munster province in general.

“Just to get that belief back that all that hard work over the last eight or nine years hasn’t been for nothing.”

Munster will have a healthy travelling support base on Saturday at the DHL Stadium with 5 000 fans draped in red reportedly making their way to Cape Town for the final, which was sold out within three hours last week.

All of this is set to create a fantastic atmosphere within the former Fifa World Cup stadium.

Stander, though, is hoping the expected wet weather will help slow down the impressive Stormers backs.

“It’s going to be a cracking final, I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be a bit wet then Munster will have the upper-hand, but we’ll see,” Stander said on a URC round-table along with former Stormers captain Jean de Villiers.

“It’s still going to be a tough game. Watching the Connacht game, the Stormers know the way they want to play. They play from anywhere and they are very good at it.

“They scored two tries that looked like nothing was on, so Munster need to be ready for that from the start.”


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