Ireland and Munster No 8 CJ Stander has announced that he will be retiring from all professional rugby at the end of the current season.
Citing family reasons as the driver behind the decision, the 30-year-old confirmed he is calling time on his rugby career after reaching significant milestones in the respective green and red jerseys.
Stander made his 50th appearance for Ireland against Scotland this past weekend in the Six Nations, while he reached 150 caps for Munster when running out against Leinster at the end of January.
The back rower began his career at the Vodacom Bulls and captained the Junior Springboks at the 2010 U20 World Championships.
After making his Super Rugby debut in 2012, Stander sealed a transfer to Munster after being told that he was too small to play loose forward in Pretoria.
He has been a star performer for Munster in every season since joining the squad and has been in every Ireland Test squad since he qualified for selection in 2016. Stander is currently Ireland’s first-choice eighthman.
During the 2014-15 European season, Stander won a record seven man-of-the-match awards, a feat culminating in him being named as Munster Player of the Year in April 2015, becoming the first overseas player to be awarded the accolade. He was also included in the 2014-15 PRO12 Dream Team.
He became the first player to claim the Munster Player of the Year award for the second year in succession in May 2016, after scoring seven tries in 21 appearances, and captaining the side on 18 occasions. He also picked up four man-of-the-match awards during the season, and was again named in the PRO12 Dream Team.