CJ Stander’s Reaction To Receiving His Lions Gear Shows What It Means To Him
A very special day.
CJ Stander’s incredible rise came full circle last Monday as he met up with his fellow British & Irish Lions for the first time. The Munster back-row arrived back in Ireland back in 2012 looking to carve out a rugby career after being told he couldn’t make it in South Africa.
It didn’t happen overnight, but Stander never gave up and has been rewarded in the last twelve months for his tireless effort. He’s been key to a Munster team who have transformed themselves back in European heavyweights, one of the first names on Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team sheet and soon he’ll be lining out for the British & Irish Lions.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Stander says last Monday’s get together, where the Lions received their personalised gear, was very special to him.
“Last Monday was special,” he says.
“It was one of the best days I’ve ever had collecting gear, fitting on everything . . . I tried on everything. You probably literally only need to take a pair of jeans. But we probably got a pair of jeans. I haven’t seen them.
“The nicest thing was the cufflinks and the pocket squares. I have never had pocket squares. All the bags, all your gear has your name on it on the side, so I have ‘CJ’ ‘S’ on the side. It is always going to be mine.
“One day when hopefully I have a daughter or son they can wear it out somewhere or I can just keep it in my closet.
“Look, for me, I remember watching them . . . the first memory was Pretoria 2009. It was like an elite club, at that stage. I thought I’m not getting in there, that’s probably the best of the best in the northern hemisphere, in the world. Just the way they mixed together, that camaraderie, it was the place you wanted to be. It was a great day. It was special.”