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Ireland back row forward CJ Stander has said that he didn't witness doping when playing in South Africa before qualifying under residency for Ireland.

Stander and Keith Earls spoke this morning in Yokohama ahead of Sunday's World Cup opener against Scotland. Earls is set to be fit after overcoming his battle with a quad muscle injury.

Stander said:

"When I was younger I was out in the sticks so the only thing we actually knew there was farming. I never really came across a lot, I think it's something if you want to go look for it and you want to do it then probably, it's open to obtain it, but I don't think it's a great thing to do at all, I think the sport is a great sport and the better we keep it clean it's great."

In Ireland anyway, they look after all of those things and make sure everyone is on track and again it's something we need to get out of the sport."

Was he surprised by the shape the Springboks were in that photo?

“No, I’ve worked with Aled Walters in Munster and he is one of the best S&Cs out there I think and he even got me into shape.

“He’s someone who looks at individuals and makes sure they train well, so I think hats off to them and they’ve trained well.”

Keith Earls agreed with Stander on the impact doping can have: 

“Rugby goes through phases of small and fast, big and fast, big and slow and powerful,” the winger said. 

“For me, it’s all in the head, you just work with what your parents gave you, what genetics your parents gave you. As CJ said there, get in the gym and work hard, but I think what distances the world class players from the rest is what goes on in the mind.”

Meanwhile, CJ Stander said he would be looking forward to a potential matchup with his native South Africa in this year’s Rugby World Cup:

“I’ve played against them a good few times now, I think my comeback game was at the Cape Town game - that didn’t really go well for me that time.” recalled Stander.

“I was just looking at that picture (the gym photo of the squad that went viral) and a few of my mates that I played with in school in the background with t-shirts on and I was actually texting them afterwards asking them why they weren’t in the front!

“If it comes up and we go against them, we know they’re a physical side, a big side, and a team that really goes behind. They have great forwards and they look for the backline to make some magic, so if that matchup comes, it’s going to be a nice one and I’m looking forward to that if it comes in the quarter, hopefully, one day.”

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