‘Dreams do come true’ – Emotional CJ Stander bids farewell to Ireland


CJ Stander bid the Ireland team an emotional farewell after his last game in a green jersey following the dominant win against England.

The Ireland back rower announced his plans to retire earlier this week in a move that surprised many, as he explained that he wanted to be able to spend more time with his family in South Africa.

An emotional Stander was speaking to Virgin Media after his final Six Nations match and thanked everyone who made it possible for him to play for Ireland.

“Just grateful. It was a massive team performance. Everyone put their hands up this week and we knew it was going to be a difficult week. Sorry, I’ve lost my voice,” Stander said.

“To the staff and everyone in the backroom, I’m forever grateful. Dreams do come true. I work hard for that jersey, to be in this jersey.

“The boys made it easy to be in it week in, week out, to get up and perform for the team and for the staff and for the greater public and supporters of Ireland.

“It’s been a pleasure for me and my family. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for all the messages and all the kind words. I haven’t got through all of them but it means a lot.

“They’re great people and it’s a special team here. Special things are going to happen for this team. It’s going to be a privilege to watch them.”

‘Thanks from the bottom of my heart’

Stander will return to South Africa, where his wife and daughter are currently living, but insisted that he would continue supporting Ireland wherever he may be.

“I wanted to give everything for that jersey because I feel that everything had been given to me – that I needed to perform for the last few years,” Stander explained.

“I just wish my family could be here. Especially my wife and my daughter and the supporters. We spoke about it at half time. We said, ‘Imagine that’s the score and we’re running in at half time. This place would have erupted.’

“Those are the special days and I can’t wait for them to come back. To be in the seats and cheering the boys on.

“If you’re sitting at home tonight, again I’m saying this, the team really played for that jersey tonight. To everyone that couldn’t be here, thanks from the bottom of my heart as CJ Stander for all the support, everything you’ve done for me and my family.

“I’m looking forward to spending time with them and I’m looking forward to following this team and having a great few pints with supporters.”

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