Things are on the up in Munster and CJ Stander believes the arrival of director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and his new management team has helped put the spring back in the players’ steps.
Erasmus signed on this summer with defence coach and fellow South African Jacques Nienaber, joining a management team that featured homegrown head coach Anthony Foley, Jerry Flannery, and Felix Jones.
“Rassie just brings a new dimension,” Stander said. “He’s an unbelievable coach. He knows what other teams are going to do and bring before they get onto the pitch so you know by Monday what to do, the same thing as up here.
“He brings a lot of passion and he’s honest. I think that’s the biggest thing about him. I just feel we last year lacked a bit of confidence and the management have brought that back in.
“After Axel’s death I think we realised we’re here now, we disappointed ourselves last year but we have an opportunity to do something.
“If it’s to play for Axel or if it’s playing for yourself or for the management or play for our jersey, that’s back. That’s something I think we lacked a bit last year but it’s come back.
“It was the worst week for everyone when Axel passed away but it’s as if he’s still around us and he’s reunited us as a team.
“Everyone’s together whereas before, if you walked in two years ago and you saw an academy guy, you might just wave. Now we’re in the one centre and everyone knows everyone’s name and we’re all in one changing room and it’s a different vibe. It’s great to have.
“It was one of the toughest weeks but I could see boys turning into men.”
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