Irish dismay at Stander ban

Ireland assistant coach Richie Murphy says they are 'disappointed' with the one-week ban handed down to CJ Stander, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Johannesburg.

The South African-born flanker collided with Pat Lambie in an attempt to charge down a kick during the first half of last Saturday’s Test, and was shown a red card for the ‘dangerous’ incident that saw the Bok flyhalf knocked out.

Although there have been differing opinions on the incident, on Monday judicial officer Terry Willis ruled that he was not satisfied on the balance of probability that referee Mathieu Raynal was wrong when he issued the red card to Stander.

The hearing, which breached the nine-hour mark and was spread over two days before a verdict was reached, saw Stander eventually suspended for a week, ruling him out of Saturday’s second Test.

Addressing the media at Ireland’s team hotel on Tuesday, Murphy expressed their dismay at the outcome.

‘We’re disappointed in the verdict; it’s one of those things where a player has got injured on the pitch, and we’re very sorry about that because it was never the intention of CJ [to injure him]. The process he’s gone through over the past couple of days has taken forever, it’s something that’s probably gone against CJ at this stage.’

Murphy admitted it had ‘seemed strange’ that Stander was punished for what was referred to as a ‘dangerous tackle’ when it was an incident involving a collision, but said they were still waiting to receive the full report.

He added that Stander’s presence would be sorely missed on Saturday.

‘CJ’s been fantastic for Irish rugby since he came over a few years ago, and he’s been a brilliant performer for Munster. He has real leadership qualities and his work rate is really high. He’s one of the guys who gets you on to the front foot, so he’ll be missed. But it provides an opportunity for another guy, and there’s someone like Rhys Ruddock, who has had a good season and could step into his shoes if need be.’

With Lambie ruled out of the second Test due to the concussion suffered in the collision with Stander, Elton Jantjies is set to start at flyhalf for the Boks, while Morné Steyn is likely to come on off the bench.

Murphy said he felt this would add a different dynamic to the Bok backline.

‘Pat’s a fantastic player and it’s disappointing that he’s out. Elton does have a good kicking game, but he’s probably a player who takes a bit more risk in how he plays the game. He’s very dangerous with ball in hand and poses a threat taking the ball to the line, perhaps a bit more than Pat in that regard.

‘Then with Morné coming back in, I’d say he’s more like your classic South African 10, he has a really good kicking game, he’s a good organiser and has a strong passing game that bring others into the game. We’re just concentrating on ourselves this week, but we’ll also have those players in mind.’

Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis