Munster back row CJ Stander signs new contract with IRFU

Ireland and Munster back row CJ Stander has signed a new contract that will keep him at Thomond Park until 2021. Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Munster back row CJ Stander has signed a new contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) that will keep him at Thomond Park until 2021.

The South Africa-born forward has become an integral member of Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad since making his Test debut at the start of the 2016 Six Nations.

He has won 18 caps for his adopted nation and joins international teammates Tadhg Furlong and Peter O'Mahony in committing his own future to the IRFU.

Stander's contract was due to expire at the end of the season and he had been linked with a move abroad in recent months.

"Following a lot of speculation and unfounded articles in the media, I am delighted to announce that I have signed a new three year contract with the IRFU through to 2021," he said in a statement released by the IRFU.

"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."

Stander, Furlong and O'Mahony were three of 11 Irish internationals whose contracts had run into their final year and securing the trio's futures is a boost for the IRFU and Schmidt following Simon Zebo's decision to accept an offer abroad.

"CJ has made a huge contribution to both Munster and Irish Rugby," IRFU director of high performance, David Nucifora, said.

"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."