Johann Van Graan’s men became only the second side to earn a Heineken Champions Cup triumph at Stade Marcel Michelin to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

ADVERTISEMENT

Three turnovers from Irish loose forward CJ Stander helped Munster turn the tide and reverse a 19-point deficit as they downed Clermont 39-31. As the game neared the end, Stander was seen enjoying one of his turnovers smiling in the middle of the maul.

He scored a try in the win, which was described by fans as ‘right up there’ with historic wins of the past for the club.

CJ Stander was award the Man of the Match for his starring role in the victory and was overcome with emotion in his post-match speech.

“That first quarter was very, very difficult, their try was probably the quickest one in the competition this year anyway. They put us under massive pressure, to comeback from that is massive for this team.

“These guys train hard, there’s two guys with new caps, it’s unbelievable. I can’t wait to get back into that changing room and just thank them. The lads put their hands up to come back from that first quarter.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stander said the belief did not waiver at halftime and credited the entire squad in their preparation for lifting the side to the win.

“We said to ourselves at halftime, when we get out there, score more points and that’s what we did. That was a full 50-man squad from the whole week’s training to put us through this.”

Coach Van Graan mirrored Stander’s view, and credited the team’s off-season work to get them into a position to come away with a win like this in Europe.

“We definitely thought we could win, we came here to win, we didn’t come here to get a bonus point and the message at half-time was that ‘if we believe in our plan and stick to the process we will win this game’,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I asked the 23 guys to stick to what we do, we spoke a lot in the week and credit to the players because they believed until the final second of this game.

“What we have done over the last six or seven months and all the work we’ve put in over lockdown, all the fitness we have done and small tweaks to our plan gave us belief.

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now