In recent weeks, fears that CJ Stander could follow Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo in signing for a move to the Top 14 have subsided somewhat, but a new report is likely to rouse further anxiety among Irish rugby fans.
According to the Irish Examiner, the Ireland and Munster back-row has received a gargantuan offer from affluent French suitors Montpellier worth €840,000 per annum.
Stander, who joined Munster from South African side the Blue Bulls in 2012 and has since scooped the southern province’s ‘Player of the Year’ award on two occasions, is in negotiations with the IRFU at present to extend his contract beyond the end of the current season.
Having just secured the services of Peter O’Mahony and Tadhg Furlong for both club and country until 2021, the union is on a roll, but they are unlikely to prove much competition for Montpellier financially.
O’Mahony and Furlong’s contracts are believed to be worth somewhere in the the region of €400,000 per annum in terms of basic salaries, and Stander is expected to receive a similar offer from the IRFU according to the Examiner.
But the lure of the green jersey and a chance to play at the 2019 World Cup might yet prove strong enough to keep Stander in Ireland despite the added financial incentives offered by a move to France.
Montpellier, who have the financial backing of French billionaire Mohed Altrad, were eliminated in the semi-final qualifiers of last year’s Top 14. They currently sit second, behind Stade Rochelais, in this season’s standings.
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