London - South African-born CJ Stander has been named the Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year at their annual awards on Tuesday.
CJ Stander, accompanied by his wife Jean-Marié, received a standing ovation when he was honoured at the gala awards evening hosted by Oliver Loomes and Rory Sheridan of Guinness, RTE's Damien O'Meara and chairperson of the Rugby Writers of Ireland, Gerry Thornley.
Stander was delighted to receive the accolade which was voted for by the Irish rugby media.
"It's an honour to be voted as the Rugby Writers Player of the Year. It's good to get (the recognition)," he said.
"I think when you're a younger boy you go through a stage where you want to get a lot of pats on the back but when you get older and you get into a team you just want to perform for all the boys and for the team to help them win. That's really my biggest drive.
"It's been a great year, an unbelievable last three years, and I've worked hard to get to the place where I am now. The biggest thing for me now is to drive on from there and not settle or be part of the furniture. You always have to push on and create something new.
"So that's a big drive for me not to think I've done enough. I just want to keep on performing for the team, that's important for me, and lead a few teams."
Sene Naoupu was chosen as the Women's Player of the Year after an impressive campaign in the centre for the Ireland Women. The hard-hitting back plays an integral role in the Women's national teams at both Sevens and XVs.