Former Munster favourite believes injury returnees make for a ‘cracking final’ with Stormers

Dylan Coetzee
United Rugby Championship: Munster's Conor Murray kicks the ball

Former Munster and Ireland loose forward CJ Stander believes the return of four key stars sets up a “cracking final” in Cape Town on Saturday.

Stander’s old side managed the most impressive of semi-final wins over Leinster in the United Rugby Championship without the likes of Conor Murray, RG Snyman, Calvin Nash and Malakai Fekitoa.

Now, the Irish side heads to Cape Town to face the Stormers at a packed DHL Stadium with the quartet fit and ready to go.

Key returns

Stander was pleased to see the return of those key players and underlined just how important a game like this is for Munster, particularly, after having won at the same venue in round 17.

“When I saw that list of players getting on to the plane, it was good to see, especially guys like Conor Murray, RG and Malakai,” Stander said.

“It brings a boost to the squad. You see the energy that Munster have got in the last few weeks from beating the Stormers in Cape Town and then going to Dublin and beating Leinster.

“It’s going to be a cracking final, I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be a bit wet then Munster will have the upper hand, but we’ll see.”

Munster need the title

Stander, who hails from South Africa but reached the peak of his powers in Ireland, insists that there are no mixed feelings for him as Munster need the title to get their belief back.

“No, not at all. Munster need this. Not just for the team, but in general, for Cork, Limerick, the Munster province in general,” he said.

“Just to get that belief back that all that hard work over the last eight or nine years hasn’t been for nothing.

“I don’t miss the game but I do miss these weekends because the craic afterwards, the few beers, and all the hard work in the years of disappointment, you’re going to sit there and hopefully win the final and celebrate with your mates. That’s the part I miss.

“It’s still going to be a tough game. Watching the Connacht (semi-final) game, the Stormers know the way they want to play. They play from anywhere and they are very good at it.

“They scored two tries that looked like nothing was on, so Munster need to be ready for that from the start.

“But no mixed emotions, just immensely proud to be in a final and having a great chance to win it.”

READ MORE: URC: Munster depart for Stormers showdown with fully-loaded squad as several key players return