Munster have confirmed that CJ Stander will be staying with the province beyond the end of the current season, after the South African back row signed a new two-year contract.
This deal will keep the 23-year-old at the province until 2016, with homegrown hooker Duncan Casey also committing his future to Munster for the same length of time.
Speculation regarding Stander’s future had revolved around a possible move away from the province, with suggestions that a lack of starts in the Heineken Cup had frustrated the former South Africa U20s captain.
The ex-Blue Bull is a powerful ball carrier, and the expectation over the coming seasons will be that Stander improves other aspects of his game to a similar level. Working under former back row players Rob Penney and Anthony Foley will be an aid in that regard.
Meanwhile, Casey has been rewarded for his breakthrough season with his first senior professional contract. The former Glenstal student has impressed with his line-out throwing and mobility around the pitch, while his handling has shown up well too in recent months.
Casey will face stiff competition from the likes of Mike Sherry, Damian Varley and Niall Scannell over the next two years, but the 23-year-old’s future looks bright.
Commenting on the signings, Penney told Munster Rugby:
We’ve had a really positive start to 2014 with players committing their future to Munster Rugby and I believe this spurs the younger lads on, knowing what is ahead of them and who will be leading the way.
“We are extremely pleased with CJ’s progress, it’s great that he has recommitted to Munster and that he believes this is the best place for his development. Similarly for Duncan, it bodes well for the future, and his progression is another example of the hard-work that is being carried out at grassroots level.”