Cape Town - Ireland’s South African-born flank, CJ Stander, has hailed the impact that Rassie Erasmus has made since arriving at Munster.
Erasmus joined Munster as their director of rugby last year after quitting his role as head of SA Rugby’s high performance unit.
Erasmus was recently named PRO12 coach of the year, having led Munster to the final of the competition which features 12 professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
They tackle Welsh club Scarlets in Saturday’s final in Dublin.
Stander, 27, boasts 15 Test caps for Ireland and has been included in the British and Irish Lions’ forthcoming tour to New Zealand.
In an exclusive interview with Sport24, he heaped praise on the impact Erasmus has made on his club:
“Rassie has played a massive role at the club since his appointment on a three-year contract in 2016. He came over at a difficult time when we had lost a few matches and were languishing in sixth place in the PRO12. When Rassie came over, with defence coach Jacques Nienaber, he took plenty of pressure off our head coach at the time, Anthony Foley,” Stander said.
“Rassie has a wealth of knowledge and is one of the best coaches in the world. He brought plenty of experience with him as well as the technical side of the game which the team probably didn’t have at the time. Rassie has transformed this club into a special place and really helped us out during an extremely difficult and tragic time when ‘Axel’ (Anthony Foley), a father figure to me, passed away last year ahead of our match against Racing Metro.
“Rassie has managed to turn the ship around at Munster with real skill and has brought everyone associated to the club with him on this exciting journey. Rassie is a great man and he is now regarded as an icon here because he’s someone that has done well for the city of Limerick.”