"I’m going to have to play harder, make him proud" - CJ Stander is ready to honour Anthony Foley on the field

The Munster star is the province's current number eight

"I’m going to have to play harder, make him proud" - CJ Stander is ready to honour Anthony Foley on the field

Munster's CJ Stander with Tony and Dan Foley after the Glasgow game. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The weight of Anthony Foley's death may hang heavier on the shoulders of CJ Stander than most.

Stander, who has been in exceptional form for Munster at number eight, wore a one-off number 24 jersey on Saturday. Munster stood down the number eight in memory of Foley.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner after the game, the South African-born player admitted that playing in the number 24 was a special moment for him, on what was an emotional day in Thomond Park.

Stander, with Keith Earls ahead of the Glasgow game. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan 

"I felt that [Foley] brought a lot to that jersey, he gave everything in that jersey, I think giving that jersey off for the day was a great touch."

"You can’t do him justice in that jersey so playing at 24 was still a massive honour. You only get it for a game, you’re just borrowing it from the next guy."

"For me, it’s going to be a massive honour to play in that 8 jersey again. It means I’m going to have to play harder, make him proud."

Despite only arriving in Limerick in October 2012, Stander has bought into what the province is all about. Having starred for the province in their most testing spell of the professional age, he is now seeing a different side to the province, after Foley's death.

The atmosphere and performance on Saturday, was like when Munster were at their imperious best in the 2000s. It could be the start of a new successful era in Thomond Park.