Stander believes Ireland will eventually win a Rugby World Cup

Stander believes Ireland will eventually win a Rugby World Cup

Former Ireland player CJ Stander believes that it is only a matter of time before Ireland wins a Rugby World Cup because of the level of talent being produced at an underage level in the country. 

This year, Ireland was fancied to break their quarter-final hoodoo for the first time in their history. However, a 24-28 loss to New Zealand at the same stage meant that it wasn't the case once again.

Stander, who is well known in Munster, fully believes that the younger players who were part of this year's heartbreak will be stronger for it eventually. He used Munster's United Rugby Championship win this year as an example.

Munster won their first title since 2012 after beating the Stormers. Many of Ireland’s younger players like Craig Casey and Jack Crowley were part of this squad. They are also Ireland regulars.

"Over time, the only thing that can happen is that Ireland will make a semi-final and a final in the future. They do have the players for it," he said on a media call for the BKT United Rugby Championship. 

"When there's a new cycle and some players go, there's a feeling that there are no more roadblocks, no more memories of not getting there. Not all those memories will be gone, but most will over the next four-year cycle when you're sitting with youngsters who are hungry for winning stuff.

Jack Crowley kicks a penalty for Ireland (Image: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

"It was the same for Munster last year - they had a lot of players who weren't part of the last 10 years of struggle and had come through - the likes of Gavin Coombes and Jack Crowley.

"Through the URC (United Rugby Championship) quarters and the semis, they just kept winning and they won the final.

"Time will tell, but the experience will come through for the younger players, and Ireland will get to a semi-final and a final. It's on the cards - the whole set-up in Ireland works; it's unbelievable."

Ireland will have to do so without their former captain Johnny Sexton. The Leinster star retired at the age of 38 after a long and decorated career with Ireland. Many people fear for Ireland post-Sexton, but according to Stander, the void left by Sexton will be quickly filled by newer players coming through.

"Yeah, look, that's a gap," Stander added. "Everyone talks about it when you have a player like that finishing up. I remember when Paul (O'Connell) and ROG finished, it's not a void that gets filled up straight away.

"But the last few years I've seen a few senior players stepping up. Pete will be there for another year or two, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Bundee (Aki).

"So, there's a lot of players there who won't step into the void but will keep on doing what they're doing. I think they'll rely on each other a bit more to make sure that Ireland doesn't miss Johnny too much."