It’s cup rugby – Stander

Date published: March 25 2015

Munster number eight CJ Stander admits he cannot wait to get back on the field after the PRO12 break when they play host to Connacht on Saturday.

The Irish derby is a critical one for both sides as Munster look to keep in touch with Glasgow at the summit while Connacht are eyeing the top four spots.

Five rounds remain of the regular-season as the Warriors, Munster, Ulster and the Ospreys battle it out for top spot, with Stander excited by the fixtures.

"It's been two weeks since we had a game so I'm excited to get back playing," said the South African forward, speaking to Munster's website.

"Connacht are playing well, and in sixth position. We lost up there in the Sportsground on New Year's Day – the New Year didn't start well for us. They are playing great rugby and it's important to keep that in mind going into this game.

"We have a few boys coming back from injury so it's good to get them back. Hopefully there will be more back in the next few weeks. It was good to have a down week to get the boys recovered and back to full fitness.

"There's a lot of competition in the squad, there are a few young boys coming through – it's great to have guys pushing us. There's competition when the internationals are away, and there's even more when they are back."

Munster enter the game on the back of a loss at the Ospreys so will be looking bounce back, as Stander stressed.

"There are five games left so it's cup rugby," he added. 

"There are a lot of teams on similar points to us so it's important to win the big games coming up, starting with Connacht this weekend.

"It's a tough competition and if you don't get a foothold early in the game it makes a massive difference. We lost to Ospreys in the last game and we were well below par that day."