‘It was definitely unique. I’ve never seen anything like it before.’
Ugo Monye has expressed his surprise at CJ Stander’s retirement announcement, saying that it’s the first time he has seen a player “celebrating their retirement” before actually retiring.
Stander announced that he would be retiring from professional rugby at the end of the current season on Tuesday morning, despite turning just 31 next month.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 16, 2021
Ugo Monye on CJ Stander retiring from rugby.
“I read a quote, ‘It’s better to retire a year early than a year late’. But also, reading CJ Stander’s statement – it’s one of celebration. He’s thrilled,” Monye commented.
“Most people that retire are actually really fearful of what they’re going to do next and how the transition is going to make them feel and what that means to their family and everything else.
“For him to be bowing out at the top of his game – he’s playing some brilliant rugby. I’ve got to say I was really stunned. I was actually quite surprised.
“But I think Covid has given everyone an opportunity to really reflect on what matters to them and he’s clearly made a decision that’s perhaps better for his family life than it is for his career. Family does trump everything.
“Fair play to him. He’s been an unbelievable servant hasn’t he? For Munster and Ireland. So I just wish him the very best and congratulate him for the great career that he’s had up until this point.
“I’d love to see him go on the Lions tour. He’s certainly in Lions form at the moment.”
CJ Stander’s ‘refreshing’ retirement statement.
Monye himself retired quite early from professional rugby, hanging up his boots at the age of 32.
However, the former England and British and Irish Lions winger admitted that he was surprised by how happy Stander appears to be to call time on his career at the end of the season.
“First time. First retirement statement I’ve ever read from a pro rugby player where they’re celebrating their retirement before they’re retired. That says a lot about him and the process he has taken to get to this point.
All professional sports people are told “you will know when the time is right to hang up your boots”. It’s a sentiment one cannot fully comprehend until that day arrives.
For me, that time has come, and I hereby publicly announce my retirement from all forms of rugby. pic.twitter.com/KK5zgWC0O1
— C J Stander (@CJStander) March 16, 2021
“It’s clearly something that he has weighed up very seriously and thought about. He would have taken counsel from his wife and close friends and family.
“It’s actually quite refreshing to know that the ‘afterlife’ – the life after rugby – isn’t all doom and gloom. And that you can actually approach it with some sense of positivity.
“I guess he’s one of the fortunate ones to be able to call time on his career rather than the coach telling him he’s not good enough, or injury taking your career away from you.
“Fair play to him. It was definitely unique. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”