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There were emotional scenes in the event last night, yesterday evening as CJ Stander finished his last game for Ireland. Of course, the Ireland and Munster rugby player made a shock announcement there on Tuesday. That England match yesterday was to be his last in a green shirt and that he's retiring from Robley Rugby, completely returning to his native South Africa at the end of the season. Let's just take a little clip here. He is being interviewed after the match yesterday.
Dreams come true. I dreamt of flying in New Jersey for a long while, I worked hard and everyone really easy for me and he looked after the last few years has being special. Yeah, thanks, everyone, for the sound of footing for the game and then just the greater support in the public. It's been a great week, even everyone just coming up and just connecting. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for me to it was me and my family really, really appreciate it.
And I'm looking forward to supporting this team from the stands with a pint of Guinness in mind. Brent, good afternoon, good afternoon. Listen, before we get on to the substantial issues here and stuff, C.J. Stander has handled all this kind of really beautifully and eloquently has in his statement the other day that that they're now.
Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, it was really emotional for me that I could see him trying to be the stereotypical sort of tough guy in the sense of hold back the tears that they need, that they needed to sort of let them come. And I think there's a couple of things that he said really resonated with me. And one was that dreams come true because he was always told in South Africa that he was too small to be a background player.
And, you know, very much when he left the bulls so many years ago to come to Munster, he kind of just said, look, I'm going to don't try it to. His father was going to give rugby a couple of years before he went back to the farm to see if he could make it as an international player. And Ireland gave them that chance. But I'm thinking trying to think of other players around the world and the professional players would have had the same sort of influence.
And I can only really come up with a couple, which is Michael Lynch, the captain of Japan, who's been the ever present with Japan through the professional and some emotional maintenance in Scotland. But to stand has really come to this country. And I know there's some people, you know, disagree with project players or whatever, and some of them have a right to because some players just come over, take the big bucks and then go home. But she's going to that certainly isn't one of those players is really embodies himself and to what Irish rugby is about and especially about what Munster is about.
And he's really felt very proud wearing the green jersey. In fact, I got to see today on TV, look, he's probably he's probably more proud to wear they are shoes than some other players that have been Irish born and bred. So, yes, he's done that eloquently. He's done it at the right time. All players want to go out when they're on top of their game. It's just coming to that decision when to do that. He's made it.
Yeah, it's so.
So if we just break that down a little bit first, I mean, there are people have been saying all week, like he had a couple more seasons left in him, he could have made a lot more money. People speculating that he might show up again for South African franchise for a season or two. Do you think that he what he said in the statement was just he knew the moment had come and you knew?
Yeah, I think, you know, and that's a great moment. And it's a great and it's a sad moment when you've got his career. But I think all the great players will tell you that you've made that decision pretty quickly. And I think his decision was made up of the Cold Spurs Cold Gravy train day. And during COGAT, they probably missed his family, which is right to know what happened. South African probably just thought, you know, the body's held out well for me, hasn't made any major changes not to come a time where, as I say it all, all professional sports people want to go out at the top.
And he's got a couple of young guns barking at his heels. You saw the way he played at number eight yesterday, which was huge position for so many years. Talum is another up and coming player. So he probably saw the writing on the wall in a certain regard. I'm not saying that he would necessarily have not found himself a position on this Irish team. He may well but he may well have had to fight off some young pretenders. And he probably thought, OK, I go out there was it was the right proper senior form, go ahead on the top of your game.
And I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing again. I wouldn't. I think it's you know, when you when you take away the emotion, it gets back together with his family in those environments. You know, we might we might see him again. But you seem quite adamant that that's the end of the line. But, you know, he was great. You said he's going a great so far. So I couldn't speak more highly about, you know, just as a guy is a role model for young workers, he's worked hard.
You know, he's overcome the obstacles. He has great faith. He speaks well. He's a family man. He's all those things that young players should look up to.
Yeah, and it's slightly different to faith. Maybe you think there's an issue here of that honour is important to him as well and how he's perceived at home and that.
Absolutely. That's been a huge and I think a lot of that comes to face. I know a lot of the South opens that end up playing and also has kind of had real faith. And I think that, you know, even when he said the other day, you had a sort of a pecking order and so that you think should be caught. But he said, you know, I'm leading this game because, you know, my faith is important to me.
My family is important to me. So we had the right sort of get the right geology of something I've got with giving up the game because he saw rugby as a bonus to his faith and to his family. So I think he always held himself in a very honourable way. You know, even when the way he spoke to I spoke about team-mates, his captaincy, his ability to come to Munster and fit him was amongst the people there to work.
I think the things that he said that epitomises what he's about, you're right. It's about being honourable. It's about. Working hard sometimes get international donors just given to the means here to work damn hard to make that position was he left the country because he thought that he had the ability to play international rugby and was told that he couldn't. So he said, no, I'm not going to take that. I'm going to go find someone else. I'm really there's a lot there's a lot to take out of saying that a lot as a rugby player, but as a man as well.
Yeah. Obviously, you never were kind of went home in the end. But is there a sense when when someone like him comes to do that, is there a sense with those guys that, OK, this is for a certain period of time, but that always there's a yearning to to go home?
Yeah, I there's not many players. Again, when I start to look at pride, there's not many players that stay around for good. And it usually comes down to the family, what the family want, you know, and a lot of New Zealanders have come over here for a good few years. I'd like to tackle these guys that stayed around and gave so much to rugby over here eventually. Eventually, what usually happens is, is, you know, if they've married someone else that married someone from all of them, married a Kiwi girl or Australian girl, that they usually want to get back to their families, the bosom of their family and take their children back for them.
And I think that was really the major pulling strings for passage to stand with the fact that his wife wanted they wanted their family to grow up around the relations and whatever their grandparents and their people even fully understand it. And, you know, I mean, I don't think anybody I think anybody in the profession really just expects that a player comes over and gives all he has to be green jersey. And I think, you know, you can't criticise that.
He's been amazingly consistent over the years. He's hardly ever had a bad guy, you know, so he has given a lot even to learning the national anthem and those things. So he really is really going all out to give the blueprint of our foreign affairs should should behave and a foreign country, which was after him when he first come over. So he's won a lot of people. He's made a lot of friends over. And I think he leaves leaves on really good note.
I don't think there's anybody out there saying, oh, well, you know, he got the money and ran. Didn't mean that. Could have he could have substantial more money in the last couple of years. He could have even gone to France or someone like that would have been given a big pay cheque. So, no, he's given he given an honourable attitude to the Irish choosing and good on them.
And listen, I mean, it wasn't the ideal way to say goodbye to the fans yesterday, but not in terms of the game is it was it was a great last match for a moment for Ireland, wasn't it? Oh, I thought I was magnificent yesterday. You know, I, I really do. And I think, you know, performance wise, that was that was up there. As far as I know, I've seen all the games in the last eight years.
That was that was up was one of the great Irish performances, I think, because the game started like we thought it was going to be like other years we're in and we're going to sort of bullyboy the right around the park or whatever. And then just Ireland's saga by Robbie Henshaw's. And that tackling and then the key to try just really set them alight. And, you know, the young guys coming in Konate a magnificent game, you know tonight at another magnificent game.
I mean how things have changed the sight of Eddie Jones. This job is now in serious jeopardy because I just don't see the thing, the side being as great as what you said. But that's not to take away from the way that I played yesterday. Right Jonny six and right through all the clouds. It was that they were magnificent yesterday. It was a fantastic game, I have to say.
So listen, there was this sense that, look, you know, just wait and we will continue. And the work is being done behind the scenes and everything. So do you think have we have we seen all the work now coming to fruition or are you thinking of good times ahead?
Yeah, I think this has always been the criticism for me, for poor Irish rugby is is one of the well that produced, you know, a great one off performance is the problem has always been to compete with the likes of the All Blacks and these sorts of sides. You've got to do it more consistently. And that's always been the criticism when you think of them in the last World Cup, even they with the ranked in the top two teams in the world and they were disappointing.
So let's hope that's the litmus paper to performances like week in, week out to have a bit of a different game. But it was enough green shoots, so to say that Irish rugby is a really promising future looking for the next World Cup. OK, Brian Pope, thanks a million. Let's take a break.
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