Munster number eight CJ Stander has spoken of his pride at his selection for the British and Irish Lions squad that will tour New Zealand.
Lions coach Warren Gatland named a 41-man squad in London on Wednesday, including Stander and his Munster team-mates Conor Murray and Peter O’Mahony.
Stander played for the Bulls and captained the SA U20 side at the 2010 Junior World Cup but left the country because he didn’t feature in then-coach of the Springboks Heyneke Meyer’s plans.
Having been deemed too small to play for the Boks as a flanker, he joined Munster in late 2012 and was an instant hit.
He made his Test debut for Ireland in 2016 after becoming eligible to play for them in October 2015.
Since his move to Ireland, he has bulked up to a massive 120kg and because of his ball-carrying abilities, he could be a serious asset to Gatland.
Reacting to being included in the squad for the 10-match tour to New Zealand this summer, Stander wrote on Instagram: “Although it hasn’t really sunk in yet, I consider representing the British and Irish Lions an immense honour and look forward to contributing just a small part to the tradition and legacy of the Lions.”
He told the Limerick Leader: “A massive thank you to everyone who has congratulated me on my inclusion in the British and Irish Lions touring squad.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without my family, friends, teammates, coaches & support staff.”