Munster star CJ Stander has made a big impact already in his fledgling Ireland career but the back-row believes his best international form is still to come ahead of the tour to South Africa.
Stander became Ireland-qualified at the end of October and was whisked into the Ireland squad after three years of superb displays with Munster.
Scarcely a Munster match goes by in which Stander isn’t named man of the match and after 64 Guinness PRO12 appearances, his try-count stands an impressive 22.
Therefore the 26-year-old did not have to wait long for his first Ireland chance, as he was the beneficiary of injuries to fellow flankers such as Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony.
Stander ended up starting every game at the Six Nations and by the end of the tournament had proved he was there on merit, delivering all-action displays that resulted in two tries.
His next challenge is in the land of his birth, South Africa, and Stander insists he will be able to cope with the pressure that comes with Ireland’s first visit to the country since 2004.
"Just going out there and playing against the Springboks, I'm excited about this. They're going to be massive games, some of the biggest of my career,” Stander told the Irish Independent.
"I have to look after myself and the team, you have to play your game and not really go out to try and prove a point.
"I'm not a fly-half or a scrum-half or a centre, to really be targeted to make a difference in the game.
“I've nothing to prove to anyone or myself. I want to go on from the Six Nations, to take up where I left off and play my game."
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