Ireland win in Stander tug-of-war
NEWS: Ireland has won the big tug-of-war for the services of star loose forward Christiaan Stander.
It was revealed on Thursday that Stander has signed a three-year Irish Rugby Football Union contract to remain at Munster until June 2021.
Stander was linked to a move to France, with Montpellier top of the list.
However, despite recent reports that he was lost to Ireland, the South African signed on to stay in his adopted country.
The Munster No.8 made his Ireland debut against Wales in the opening game of the 2016 Six Nations Championships.
He has started all 10 of Ireland's Six Nations fixtures since making his debut and scored a memorable hat-trick against Italy in the 2017 Championship.
Stander has won 18 caps for Ireland and has played a key role in a number of stand-out victories during his time to date in the green jersey including wins over New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and England.
He was selected for the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad - featuring against the Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders, Chiefs, Hurricanes and New Zealand in the decisive third Test.
The 27-year-old made his debut for Munster against the Scarlets in November 2012 and has won 105 caps for his province scoring 32 tries.
"CJ has made a huge contribution to both Munster and Ireland," IRFU Director of High Performance, David Nucifora, said.
"It has not been an easy or straight-forward road but he has shown great determination and commitment in both red and green and continues to perform at a very high-level week in and week out."
Stander said: "Following a lot of speculation and unfounded articles in the media, I am delighted to announce that I have signed a new three-year contract with the IRFU through to 2021.
"My intention was always to stay with Munster and Ireland throughout this process having settled well in Limerick with my wife and within the Munster family.
"The coaching setup, ethos and work ethic within both camps is tremendous and I'm very excited at the prospect of playing my part in achieving great things through hard work and determination with both squads.
"My wife and I took a leap of faith and have made a lot of sacrifices to be here but it has all been worthwhile especially given how much of a privilege it is to wear the Munster and Ireland jerseys when given that responsibility. Ireland is a special country in which to live and play rugby and I'm fully aware of that.
"The Munster and Ireland fans have been fantastic to us since we arrived and my continued focus will be to do my best for them and both teams when called upon."
Munster Rugby CEO, Garrett Fitzgerald, commented: "Coming off the back of Peter's news last week we are again delighted to retain the services of a key member of our squad with CJ signing up to the province and Irish Rugby for the next three years.
"His contribution to Irish Rugby has been immense and this is recognised further with an IRFU contract. CJ has been an incredible addition to our squad on and off the pitch and it is great that he will continue to play an important part in our future."