CJ Stander admitted he had experienced his worst moments in a Munster jersey following their embarrassing defeat to Stade Francais and said the players had to stand up and take more responsibility.
Stander captained the province on one of its darkest days in a previously illustrious 21-year European history as a third straight Champions Cup defeat sent them crashing out at the pool stages with two games still to play.
The 27-7 defeat at Stade Jean Bouin has rendered those games at home to Stade and away at Treviso meaningless, particularly galling for a player who was one of the few to emerge from the wreckage with reputation intact.
“It’s disappointing, that’s the word,” Stander said having agreed it was his worst day since joining Munster three seasons ago from South Africa’s Blue Bulls.
“I know what the boys can do, we train very hard and we get to games and don’t put it out on the field.
“I know what it means to the boys, what it means to me. Now it’s dead rubber games from here on. The boys need to step up next week and show what the jersey means.”
In his post-match television interview Stander suggested Munster’s players were “not putting bodies on the line” and talking further to reporters afterwards added the team had not responded positively following a half-time team talk when they trailed 10-0 and with a player advantage following Stade’s Josaia Raisuqe’s red card.
He also said the players owed a better response next week for head coach Anthony Foley and his coaching staff.
“We talked about it, we said to ourselves, ‘we have to go out there and pick up the pace’, but we didn’t do that. We were walking to lineouts.
“The coaches give us everything we need, all the tools, and then we go on the pitch and we don’t give it back to them. That’s disappointing because they’re great coaches. We have all the plays, we know we can score tries, but we don’t. That’s disappointing for Axel (Foley), Cossie (Ian Costello), Squeaks (Brian Walsh), Fla (Jerry Flannery), Micko (Mick O’Driscoll). They’re good coaches, they’re passionate, they drive us. It’s disappointing to let them down.
“I can see how much it hurts them and I know how much it hurts me as a captain.”
Yet Stander insisted the players were in unison with their coaches but were making poor decisions.
“Everyone’s buying in and everyone pulls their weight. It’s just that the decision- making to push yourself harder to get to a lineout if you’re tired. We wanted to drive the pace and we didn’t.”
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