Facts and figures about the South Africa-born Munster back-rower

Who is CJ Stander: Ten things you should know about the Ireland No 8

Ireland back-row CJ Stander has become an integral part of the national squad since making his debut in 2016. There’s a lot more to find out about the Munster No 8 too…

Ten things you should know about CJ Stander

1. Christiaan Johan Stander was born on 5 April 1990 in George, South Africa. He plays for Ireland after qualifying on the three-year residency rule in November 2015.

2. Stander was a champion discuss thrower in his teenage years where he lived, in South Africa’s Western Cape.

3. He stands at 6ft 1in (185cm) tall and weighs 18st (114kg).

4. He represented South Africa in the U20 Rugby World Cup in 2009 and 2010, finishing third in the tournament in both years.

5. Stander wasn’t considered big enough to play for the Springboks unless he converted to hooker. Stander said of the situation: “I was told I was too small (to play loose forward) and that I should move to hooker as that was the only position where I would play international rugby.

“I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to do this’. I just made the decision easy and said, ‘Well boys, I’ll pack up my stuff and leave’.”

6. Stander moved to Munster in 2012 and made his 150th appearance for the province against Leinster in January 2021.

7. Stander’s wife is Jean-Marie Neethling, the sister of Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Ryk Neethling, and the couple have a daughter called Everli, who was born in 2019.

Stander’s brother, Janneman, is also a rugby union player for South African team SWD Eagles.

8. He made his Ireland debut against Wales in the 2016 Six Nations. At the end of that 2015-16 season, he won the Rugby Players Ireland Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year awards.

9. Stander was named Limerick’s inaugural Honorary International Ambassador in 2017 by Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon.

10. Stander was part of the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad for their tour of New Zealand. He played in seven games during the tour, including an appearance off the bench in the decisive third Test against the All Blacks. That match ended in a 15-15 draw, meaning the series was also drawn.

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