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Stander determined to pay the perfect tribute to Foley

By David Kelly

CJ Stander has said that his Munster squad have vowed to create something special for their former head coach Anthony Foley this season. And the Irish international adds that Munster were spurred on to victory against Leinster last Monday as the meeting between the sides in October was the last time Foley had prepared the squad for a game.

"It was tough, especially it was the last time Axel coached us, and he wasn't happy with the way we performed," said Stander.

"So we said we were going to perform for him for the rest of the year and we stood up and showed the big man again against Leinster.

"We spoke the whole week about getting out and performing better than we did last week.

"I thought we let ourselves down last week with physicality, but the forwards stepped up against Leinster.

"It was one of the big ones. These derbies are massive and it was good to get the win."

Stander added that his side, still competing hard for titles on domestic and European fronts, will not lack incentive as they head to Galway on Saturday to take on a Connacht team who beat them twice last season.

However, Stander, who notched his 28th try in his 90th appearance in the 29-17 win over Leinster on Monday, may have to sit out the trip to the Sportsground as part of the player welfare programme.

He will then focus on returning for what promises to be an emotional journey to Paris for the side's rescheduled Champions Cup tie against Ronan O'Gara's Racing 92 a week later.

Leinster, bidding to avoid losing a third Pro12 game in a row for the first time since 2008, have received the perfect boost ahead of their clash against Ulster on Saturday with Jonathan Sexton now primed to make his return for the game.

The Irish out-half has been missing since suffering a hamstring injury in the historic win over the All Blacks in Chicago on November 19.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen said that the 31-year old is ready to go as they bid to get their PRO12 aspirations back on track after successive defeats away to Munster and Scarlets.

Meanwhile, former Ireland centre Shane Horgan has tipped Conor Murray as a candidate to captain the Lions in New Zealand next year.

"He will be a first choice, he is really enjoying his rugby at the moment and he is an outstanding candidate in my view," said Horgan, who toured when the Lions last visited New Zealand in 2005.

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