CJ Stander's emotional farewell: I just wish the fans could have been here

Munster legend signs off from the Irish jersey in real style
CJ Stander's emotional farewell: I just wish the fans could have been here

An emotional CJ Stander after making his last appearance for Ireland. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

THERE was not a dry eye in the house in the aftermath of Ireland’s brilliant 32-18 Six Nations triumph over England.

As the retiring CJ Stander got emotional as his international career wound to a close, with everyone at home getting emotional with him.

“I'm very, very grateful. Dreams do come true. I worked hard for that jersey, and to be in that jersey, the boys made it easy to be in.

"I wanted to give everything for that jersey, I feel with everything that was given to me, I needed to perform in the last few years.

"I just wish my family could be here, especially my wife and daughter, and the supporters - the place would have erupted on one of the special days, and I can’t wait for them to come back," stated the Munster man.

"The team really played for that jersey for everyone who couldn’t be here.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart, for me I'm looking forward to spending time with my family, and at some stage having a few pints with the supporters."

Ireland’s Man of the Match, the brilliant centre Robbie Henshaw, was quick to stress how a lot of this great performance centred around the desire to do it for their parting teammate.

"We finished on as high a note as possible for a number of reasons - for CJ mainly. He's offered so much to this team. Secondly for the fans at home who can't be here, we wanted to give them something good to cheer about from the couch. And for us as a collective. 

"We were unbelievably disappointed with the opening two games and we were almost there, just a few different things cost us.

"It was a massively emotional performance as I mentioned for those reasons and you're playing England at the end of the day so you have to be up for that," he said.

FITTING FINALE

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell gave Stander one final instruction after the final whistle: “I’ve just said to him in the changing room that he can be as emotional as he wants to be now because he has given his heart and soul to the jersey, to the green one and to the red one.

“He has a chance to play in a cup final there for Munster next week so we wish him all the best with that.

“It’s been an emotional week. We’ve tried to keep a lid on it the best we can and you can say whether we should have brought that out or not but it is fitting that CJ was able to say goodbye to his friends and tell them the truth and where’s he’s coming from, the reasons why, etc.

“How they’ve responded to him and how he’s kept a smile on his face has been totally fitting to what this team is about and we’re delighted that we’re able to put a performance together for CJ to send him off in the right way.

Ireland's Peter O'Mahony in a line out against England on Saturday. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Ireland's Peter O'Mahony in a line out against England on Saturday. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

“We’re delighted that we managed to control the emotion in the right way and yeah he’s emotional in the changing rooms, but happy emotional.

“I cannot say enough about him as a bloke. He’s the most kind-hearted, most genuine bloke that you’ll ever meet and he’ll be a mate forever.”

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