Reports emerging this lunchtime have put a figure on how much CJ Stander was being offered – at least initially – by the IRFU in their ongoing efforts to keep him in Ireland.
Pressure has been heaped on the IRFU in recent months, as negotiations for the services of Stander and Peter O’Mahony appeared to have hit a roadblock.
The two backrows are among Munster’s most prized assets, yet the IRFU has so far failed to lock down contracts with the pair, an issue which has made national headlines in Ireland.
Both are considered stalwarts at the Irish province, O’Mahony in particular being seen as the natural spiritual successor to Paul O’Connell.
CJ Stander, a native of South Africa, has come to be one of the club’s most loved players on and off the pitch, and has firmly committed to Ireland publicly since making his international bow last year.
Both backrows represented the British and Irish Lions during the summer of New Zealand, and their stock has never been higher.
Reports on Sportsjoe.ie however claim that the IRFU offered Stander just €260,000 per annum, literally a fraction of what he could demand in the UK or France. That figure – if accurate – was just €20,000 more on his previous contract.
The province have already lost Simon Zebo. The 27-year-old winger and fullback attracted the interest of several European clubs who offered terms that Munster and the IRFU were unable to match despite “both the province and the Union making every effort to retain the player with substantial improvements made to his existing deal.”
The loss of one of the backrows would be a massive blow to Munster and indeed Ireland. The loss of both would be unthinkable.