CJ Stander retired in 2021 from professional rugby after a career spanning over eleven years at the top level.
Stander started his professional rugby life playing in the back row for South African side, The Bulls. It was here that he honed his skills which allowed him call-ups to age-grade Springbok national sides, as well as a call-up to the South African national side.
Despite the call-up, Stander did not see any senior international action. So in 2012, after being told he was too small to be playing as an international back-rower in South Africa, Stander made the decision to move to Ireland to play for Munster.
Afterward, Stander made the following comment about his move:
“I just made the decision easy and said, ‘Well boys, I’ll pack up my stuff and leave’. Munster signed me and they didn’t think I was too small.”
It was through his residency that Stander later qualified for Ireland, and through some incredible performances and a series of individual awards, he was selected for the Emerald Isle.
After his 50th cap for Ireland, Stander expressed his intention to retire from rugby to be able to raise his young family back in South Africa.
It is now here in South Africa that Stander is seen to be battering amateur defences, still at the very top of his game.
It is always a fascinating conversation to have as to how much of a difference a professional player would have in those lower levels. Well here is just a little taster:
😤 @CJStander on the charge for Oakdale Old Boys
🎥 jcduplessis27/insta pic.twitter.com/a17YlQ5XXw
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) August 27, 2022