South Africa-born flanker CJ Stander has admitted to frantically learning the Gaelic lyrics to Ireland’s anthem Amhran na bhFiann (The Soldier’s Song) in case of his Test debut in the RBS 6 Nations. “I can’t even describe it; it’s something I’m very passionate about and something I’ve worked very hard for,” said Stander. “I’ve worked so hard to get here. I’m very proud to be in the squad. “I played my first few matches at Munster at six and that’s where I started out. “I’d just be delighted to be involved anywhere. I just want to put my hand up and see what happens.” Stander hailed new three-year Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Munster dual contracts for Keith Earls and Conor Murray after a testing campaign for Anthony Foley’s side. Stander believes both Earls and Murray can continue to sprinkle their “magic” across both Munster and Ireland now they have resolved their long-term futures. “It’s great for the team, it’s great to get the backing from them,” said Stander. “It’s great to know they will be here, we’re building down in the south. “It’s good to see the smiles on them when they finalise it. “I reckon the boys and coaches in Cork will be happy. “They are top-class, unbelievable players and they bring magic to the team.” Munster’s European Champions Cup captain excelled for South Africa’s Under-20s but later opted to join the Thomond Park province and chase qualification for Ireland. Now eligible on residency, Stander has been drafted into Ireland’s Six Nations ranks and could well feature in the back-row for the opener against Wales on Sunday, February 7. The 25-year-old admitted “the heart’s been pumping” even getting his hands on official Ireland training gear, so accepted he has no idea how he would keep calm in the event of his international bow. “I’ve been very excited all week in camp, walking around with a smile. “The heart’s pumping even just putting on the kit in training. “It will be very difficult to keep myself level, but that’s the big challenge. “My wife has brought up the anthem on Youtube, there’s a clip with the words there added. “Donnacha Ryan’s fluent, so he’s been helping me with the words. “So we’ll see how good his teaching has been if the chance comes up!” Stander comfortably had the pedigree to force a Springboks breakthrough had he remained on home soil, but insisted he has battled for the last three years not just to qualify for Ireland on residency – but also to prove his worth and commitment. Press Association
Thurles CBS are through to the All-Ireland Post Primary School final after running out 18 points to 1-12 winners over St Peter’s College Wexford this afternoon. At half time both sides were level with CBS scoring 0-12 points to St Peter’s 1-9.The Tipp school last won the Croke Cup in 2009 and they’ll play the winners of the second semi-final on Saturday between St Kieran’s College Kilkenny and Presentation College Athenry. Thurles CBS manager John Devane was pleased with his side’s determination to come out on top.Raffaele Rocca was at the game for Tipp FM Sport.
No. 1 LSU meets No. 2 Alabama in the “Game of the Century,” and that is the main event on the Week 11 college football schedule.A matchup of 8-0 teams between No. 5 Penn State and No. 13 Minnesota at noon will serve as the appetizer before the 3:30 p.m. showdown between the Tigers and Crimson Tide. There are 16 games featuring top-25 teams, and Sporting News is hoping to stay hot on its weekly picks against the spread. Boise State wins 28-23 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.Nevada at No. 24 San Diego State (-17.5)San Diego State had a bye week to prepare for Nevada, which averages just 14 points per game on the road this season. The Aztecs have won seven games by an average of 9.6 points per game. It’s not a blowout here either.San Diego State wins 31-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread. Get the latest NCAA odds & betting advice at Sportsbook ReviewHere is a look at our record so far this season:Straight up: 152-39 .796 (13-1 last week)Against the spread: 108-83, .565 (11-3 last week)Upset picks: 2-11, .154 (0-2 last week)With that, Sporting News’ Week 11 picks against the spread for top-25 teams (lines provided courtesy of Sportsbook Review as of Tuesday, Nov. 5, at noon ET):Maryland at No. 3 Ohio State (-42.5)Ohio State is 7-1 against the spread this season and will be well-rested coming off a bye week. The spread is absurd for a conference game, and the Terps are stuck in a four-game losing skid. Their losses to Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan were by an average of 44 points per game. This is a tough call, but it takes one touchdown to make it interesting.Ohio State wins 50-14 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.No. 5 Penn State (-7) at No. 13 MinnesotaThe Gophers get a showcase game at home, and both teams had a bye week to add new wrinkles. Penn State won the last meeting 29-26 in a 2016 thriller that set the course for where the program is now. This is right on the line.Penn State wins 24-16 and COVERS the spread.Vanderbilt at No. 10 Florida (-26)It’s a hangover spot for the Gators, who were been hammered by Missouri in each of the last two seasons after losing to Georgia. Vanderbilt continues to struggle on offense, but they hang around long enough to cover here.Florida wins 31-10 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.No. 11 Baylor (-1.5) at TCUThe Bears can’t afford to look ahead to the showdowns against Oklahoma and Texas knowing the Horned Frogs have won the last four meetings in this series. Freshman quarterback Max Duggan plays better at home, and TCU ends Baylor’s perfect season.TCU wins 24-21 in an UPSET.WEEK 11 PROJECTIONS: Bowls | PlayoffEast Carolina at No. 23 SMU (-21.5)East Carolina pulled out the stops in an overtime loss to Cincinnati, and SMU is coming off a primetime loss at Memphis. The Mustangs have hit the over in eight games this season, so another shootout seems inevitable.SMU wins 48-27 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama (-6)It’s the “Game of the Century,” and don’t count on knowing anything more about Tua Tagovailoa’s status until kickoff. The line could drop a little more, which adds value to the Crimson Tide knowing they have won the last eight meetings. Alabama wins again in a thriller they might run back in the College Football Playoff.Alabama wins 34-27 and COVERS the spread.UConn at No. 17 Cincinnati (-35)The Huskies have been underdogs of at least 20 points six times this season, and they are 3-3 in that situation. The Bearcats are 5-3 against the spread this season, but the line looks too high for the second straight week.Cincinnati wins 41-13 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.No. 20 Kansas State at Texas (-7)The Wildcats have emerged as one of the best stories of the season under first-year coach Chris Klieman, and they would make another statement by sweeping Oklahoma and Texas in the regular season. The Longhorns are 3-2 against the spread as a favorite this season, but they pull out a much-needed win here.Texas wins 38-28 and COVERS the spread.MORE: Five arguments Playoff selection can ignite with rankingsNo. 22 Wake Forest (-2) at Virginia TechWe whiffed trying to pick N.C. State to cover against the Demon Deacons last week, and that’s a nod to the job Dave Clawson has done with this team. Wake Forest won the last meeting between the teams in the infamous 6-3 game in 2014. The teams put up a few more points this time around, but the Deacons keep it rolling.Wake Forest wins 31-27 and COVERS the spread.No. 18 Iowa at No. 16 Wisconsin (-9.5)It’s worth knowing the Badgers won the last meeting at Camp Randall Stadium 38-14. Both teams had a bye week, but that’s a lot of points in an old-school Big Ten showdown.Wisconsin wins 24-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.Missouri at No. 6 Georgia (-17.5)Georgia is 2-4 against the spread against the Tigers since they joined the SEC, and there is a risk for an emotional letdown after the Florida game. We think it goes the other way, and Jake Fromm plays with even more confidence when the ground game gets rolling against the Tigers.Georgia wins 38-19 and COVERS the spread.No. 4 Clemson (-32.5) at N.C. StateClemson is 5-1 against the spread in ACC games, and all of those spreads were by 24 points or more. The Tigers are in search-and-destroy mode, but will that matter with such a huge line? Keep in mind that North Carolina is the only team to score more than 14 points against Clemson this season.Clemson wins 48-13 and COVERS the spread.MORE: Ranking every regular-season ‘Game of the Century’No. 15 Notre Dame (-8) at DukeNotre Dame is coming off a last-minute win against Virginia Tech, and the Irish still have New Year’s Day 6 bowl hopes in line. They improve to 4-0 against ACC teams with a win at Duke.Notre Dame wins 35-21 and COVERS the spread.Iowa State at No. 9 Oklahoma (-14.5)Oklahoma had an off week to stew about the loss to Kansas State, and the best way to get back in the Playoff conversation is to put together a string of blowouts in conference play. Iowa State runs into the wrong team at the wrong time.Oklahoma wins 48-23 and COVERS the spread.Wyoming at No. 21 Boise State (-13)The Broncos are 4-3-1 against the spread this year, but that record is 3-1 at home. Wyoming’s two losses this season are by a combined seven points, and this is a chance to win at Boise State for the first time.