Botha, Stander have put differences aside

Arno Botha in action for Munster against the Cheetahs (Gallo Images)
Arno Botha in action for Munster against the Cheetahs (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Munster loose forward Arno Botha says he and CJ Stander have put past differences aside.

The 27-year-old Botha, who played two Tests for the Springboks in 2013, recently joined the Irish club from English outfit London Irish.

Botha and Stander, the South African-born No 8 who is now a regular in Ireland’s Test squad, came through the ranks at the Bulls in South Africa.

In an interview with Irish publication, The42, Botha admitted he and Stander were not always the best of friends, but that has changed since the former's arrival at Munster.

“We played 2011 in the Currie Cup and for the U20s, 21s and won a trophy together. We weren’t really good friends then but we are now. We speak and joke a lot about that.

“I don’t know if you can say he was unlucky (to leave the Bulls), because obviously it’s not really that unlucky to play for Ireland now, but it worked out well for him,” said Botha.

Botha was tipped for a promising Springbok career before knee injuries ruled him out of the game for lengthy periods.

He is looking to make the most of his one-year deal at Munster but has also not given up hope of playing for the Springboks.

“For me, to stay in Europe is the goal. I know if I’m good enough, I can still make the South African squad and make that team. But again it’s a case of having respect for players who stay (at home).

“I know Rassie (Erasmus, Springbok coach) has been working with a lot of those guys in his career and obviously he has a plan that he wants to do. Obviously if I can make it playing out of Europe, it would be the perfect world,” Botha added.

Stander, meanwhile, has become the mainstay at Munster, who are coached by former Springbok assistant Johann van Graan.

Stander said he was deemed too small to be a No 8 at the Bulls and decided to leave for Ireland in 2012.

The 28-year-old has played 29 Tests since making his debut for Ireland in 2016.

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