Munster captain and Man of the Match, CJ Stander, felt his side had restored pride as they produced a superb display to claim a bonus-point 26 / 13 victory over Stade Francais in Pool 4 of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
The French side were chasing a quarterfinal berth but had no response to a tremendous Munster effort as Mike Sherry, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo and Stander himself scored tries, with flyhalf Ian Keatley kicking 6 points.
The Irish side, 2-time European champions, had no chance of advancing from the pool after being humbled by a 14-man Stade side in Paris just a week previously.
Stander admits there has been a lot of hurt within the Munster camp and he hopes an impressive win was a step back in the right direction for a team who have traditionally been one of the competition’s major players.
“We said we were playing for nothing but pride and that shows the character we have here in Munster,” said Stander. “There was a lot of hurt last week but a lot of the boys stepped up and we are very proud.”
“The fans stood behind us and made an unbelievable noise. We knew it was all about our actions and getting pride back into the place and we showed a lot of characters.”
Stade Francais 27 / 7 Munster
Stade Francais winger Josaia Raisuqe was sent off but the French champions still easily beat Munster in their Champions Cup match in Paris.
Raisuqe was sent off on the stroke of halftime for gouging Munster’s CJ Stander as they wrestled for the ball.
Paul Williams, Sekou Macalou and Hugo Bonneval crossed for Stade who are 4 points behind pool leaders Leicester.
A late Conor Murray try prevented Munster suffering their first shut-out in 21 years of European rugby.
The Irish side are now out of the Champions Cup – barring a miracle series of results – after suffering 3 pool defeats in a row for the 1st time.
Munster will face Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 final in Ravenhill after an incredible 21 / 18 win over Ospreys at Thomond Park.
Josh Matavesi crossed at the death for what would have been the winning try for the Ospreys but a knock-on in the build-up meant the try was ruled out and Munster progressed to the final.
CJ Stander became the 1st overseas player to be named the Munster Player of the Year.
He earned the accolade at the annual Munster awards, after a hugely impressive season.
The South African became the 1st overseas player to receive the accolade after scoring 8 tries in 22 appearances and picking up no less than 5 Man Of The Match awards.
Stander was nominated alongside Billy Holland and previous winner Tommy O’Donnell.
The award shortlist was decided by members of the senior squad with Munster supporters deciding the overall winner through a public vote.
Round 11 of the Guinness PRO12 kicked off on Friday night and ended with the final fixture on Sunday, with big derby matches being played between the teams from all four countries who have teams in the competition. South African players made a big impact during the Round, earning Player Of The Match accolades in 3 out of the 6 fixtures.
Rynard ‘Ligtoring’ Landman started it off with a Man Of The Match performance for Newport Gwent Dragons against Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday afternoon. CJ Stander added a Man Of The Match accolade in a comfortably victorious Munster effort against Leinster, while Rob Herring completed the trio of South African Man Of The Match performances on Friday for Ulster who scraped home against Connacht. Josh Strauss was pipped to the award by skipper Alastair Kellock for Glasgow Warriors against Edinburgh, but Strauss put in a fine performance for the Scotstoun-based outfit outshining his opposite number David Denton and scored the only try of the match, late in the first half.
Head coach Marius Goosen’s Benetton Treviso picked up their first win of the season in the competition in their Italian derby match away to Zebre.
Former Bulls flank CJ Stander has committed to a long-term goal of playing Test rugby for Ireland by signing a two-year contract extension with Munster that will see them stay with the province until June 2016.
Stander joined Munster in October 2012 from Super Rugby side the Bulls and made his debut as a substitute against Scarlets that November at Musgrave Park.
According to reports in various newspapers, CJ Stander is heading to Munster, after the Currie Cup of 2012. The promising Bulls loose forward, and former Junior Bok captain, has decided not to renew his contract with the Bulls. CEO of the Bulls, Barend van Graan, admitted, that they simply couldn’t match the Munster offer.
Die Vodacom Bulls se twee losvoorspelers CJ Stander (Heup) en Dewald Potgieter (Skouer) wat beide teen die Highlanders beseer is in Dunedin, sal waarskynlik beide oorweeg kan oorweeg word vir insluiting in die span vir die laaste toerwedstryd teen die Chiefs.