CJ Stander has been the one positive to come out of a difficult season for Munster.
The southern province have struggled this season and head into this weekend’s game against the Scarlets, knowing should they not win, they will not be competing in next season’s Champions Cup.
Stander was rewarded for his outstanding season by being named player of the season by his peers but his contribution to the fans has been just as remarkable.
This weekend win, lose or draw- Munster will stay on the pitch after applauding Scarlets off to take time to salute the Munster faithful. Stander says:
“It’s a thing that we started doing more towards the end of the season to say thanks to the supporters. When it’s not going well on the pitch, it’s not going well for them. They have to struggle with the team.
“The support we got on Friday night [during the Edinburgh win] was the die-hard fans who wanted to be there. It was a sell-out but people got their tickets early and the momentum and push they give you with their singing and cheering [helps].
“I think that’s a thing we’ll do next season even more, just get that connection between the supporters and the players. That will be vital going forward in the next few years.”
“We played Stade Français [at Thomond Park] and the people that came that day, the people who wanted to be here, there was a lot of pride in them. It makes a big difference, so if we come on on Saturday and there’s even one more person who wants to be here, it would unbelievable.
“The more here the better for us. It gives you a lift when you run out. It’s funny, I always get goosebumps when I run onto the pitch and I can hear that the Munster supporters are there.”