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Stander still wants title glory
07 Feb 2016 17:05
Debutant man of the match CJ Stander insists Ireland can still chase an unprecedented third consecutive Six Nations title after drawing 16-16 with Wales in Dublin.
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The South Africa-born flanker proved his Test pedigree with a bullocking performance on his Ireland bow, helping Joe Schmidt's men to force a share of the spoils at the Aviva Stadium.
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Stander's impressive ball-carrying and work rate justifiably won him the official man of the match award, with Conor Murray's try helping Ireland into a 13-0 lead.
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Wales hit back through Taulupe Faletau's try, going 16-13 up, before Johnny Sexton landed a pressure penalty six minutes from time to level the tie.
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"It's points on the board, so we'll take that and move forward," Stander told RTÉ Sport.
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"Both teams came out and played great rugby. I'm proud of the boys to hold on at the end. When we had the ball we did some great work.
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"In the first half we were flying, the second half we slipped a bit but it was a good effort. It's a good start and we can build on that."
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Ireland could be left to fret on Sexton's fitness, after the linchpin fly-half left the field with five minutes to play seemingly suffering a chest problem.
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Keith Earls and Tommy O'Donnell also left the action for Head Injury Assessments [HIA], so will be scrutinised to see if they suffered concussion.
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Ireland were already without 10 injured frontline stars and will be hugely proud of their effort in containing Warren Gatland's men.
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Boss Schmidt had already insisted a mid-table finish would represent success this year given the injury catalogue, but this share of the spoils allows Ireland to remain in the hunt for further success.
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