Cape Town - Ireland loose-forward CJ Stander is delighted to further his career at Munster.
The South African-born Stander on Wednesday signed a three-year contract to remain at the Irish club until 2021.
This came after reports surfaced that he could join French outfit Montpellier, reportedly for €840 000 (R12.6m) per year.
Stander though labelled the reports as “unfounded”.
He told Munster’s official website: “I am delighted to announce that I have signed a new three-year contract with the IRFU through to 2021.
“My intention was always to stay with Munster and Ireland throughout this process having settled well in Limerick with my wife and within the Munster family.
“The coaching setup, ethos and work ethic within both camps is tremendous and I’m very excited at the prospect of playing my part in achieving great things through hard work and determination with both squads.
“My wife and I took a leap of faith and have made a lot of sacrifices to be here but it has all been worthwhile especially given how much of a privilege it is to wear the Munster and Ireland jerseys when given that responsibility. Ireland is a special country in which to live and play rugby and I’m fully aware of that.
“The Munster and Ireland fans have been fantastic to us since we arrived and my continued focus will be to do my best for them and both teams when called upon.”
The IRFU’s director of high Performance, David Nucifora, also commented: “CJ has made a huge contribution to both Munster and Irish rugby. It has not been an easy or straight-forward road but he has shown great determination and commitment in both red and green and continues to perform at a very high level week in and week out.”
Munster’s CEO, Garrett Fitzgerald, added: “We are delighted to retain the services of a key member of our squad with CJ signing up to the province and Irish Rugby for the next three years.
“His contribution to Irish Rugby has been immense and this is recognised further with an IRFU contract. CJ has been an incredible addition to our squad on and off the pitch and it is great that he will continue to play an important part in our future.”
Stander made his Ireland debut against Wales in the opening game of the 2016 Six Nations and has earned 18 caps for the country.
He also made his debut for the British and Irish Lions during their New Zealand tour earlier this year.
The 27-year-old first played for Munster against the Scarlets in November 2012 and has won 105 caps for the province, scoring 32 tries.