Former international Thinus Delport feels the Irish international has had an impressive first year in green
Ireland have traveled to South Africa ahead of their three-test tour with a trio of South African-born players in the team. CJ Stander, Richardt Strauss and the uncapped Quinn Roux have all returned to the motherland, but have been told to expect "a hostile reception" by a former South African international.
Thinus Delport has played 18 time for his country, and will be part of Sky Sports' coverage of the three-test series. It is Ireland's first time touring in South Africa in over a decade.
Stander is the only one from the trio that has been selected in the match-day 23 for the First Test on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 4pm). "Those guys left South Africa for a reason. They will have their critics. The fact is they left South Africa to persue their careers elsewhere... They can expect a bit of a hostile reception. The guys will put a lot of pressure on them, especially in the media.
All three players have qualified for Ireland through the three-year residency rule. Delport thinks that countries need to "utilise" the rules that are available to them.
Stander (left) played with the Blue Bulls, before moving to Munster. Picture by: Themba Hadebe / AP/Press Association Images
"It's part of the modern game. You have got to utilise resources according to the current rules and regulations... I personally fell that if you are a professional player, you need to pursue you career options where ever it arises."
Delport added that he felt three-years was "a little bit short". "You can play for another country before you come close to becoming a citizen".
Despite Stander leaving the country, Delport has been impressed by what he has seen from the IRUPA Player of the Year. "He's shown this year, that when he was given the opportunity, he took it. He's a typical hard-nosed South African loose-forward. He was probably seen as a little bit too-small... In South Africa we have an unlimited stock of loose-forwards."
When Stander receives the ball for the first time on Saturday afternoon, the reaction from the South African players and fans will be worth the wait.