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Munster head-coach Johann van Graan says CJ Stander will be "sorely missed" at the province next season. 

The former Ireland back-row will return to his native South Africa when he retires at the end of the current campaign.

Stander skippered the Reds to a 31-27 victory against Cardiff Blues last night in his last appearance for the Reds at Thomond Park. It was also the final home match for Tommy O'Donnell and James Cronin for Munster.

That win moved van Graan's side to the top of the European standings in the Guinness Rainbow Cup, though Benetton could leapfrog them by beating Connacht in Treviso this evening.

"We got another 80-minute performance from him," the Munster coach said of their captain for the night. "He led the team really well, was really good at the base of the scrum and he just kept coming.

“He carried really well, he took one huge hit off the kick-off, and then the next kick-off he’s back at it again. He’ll be sorely missed, as will a lot of big names who have played their final games at Thomond Park for Munster."

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