Like a kid again - Stander can't wait for Lions bow
CJ Stander says the prospect of experiencing his British and Irish Lions debut makes him "feel like a kid again" ahead of Wednesday's tour match against Blues.
The South African-born Ireland forward has been named by Warren Gatland in the XV to face the Super Rugby franchise at Eden Park.
The Lions are seeking to build on a 13-7 victory over the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in the opening game of the trip in Whangarei on Saturday.
"The Lions is something that you work towards, the passion of the boys who have been in the jersey before you; four nations coming together for one goal," Munster back-rower Stander told a news conference.
"It takes a lot of hard work to be part of a bigger squad that is the best of the best of four nations.
"It means you've worked hard to get there. The job's not done yet but you're part of it, in a group that has a lot of talent and X-factor.
"I'm looking forward to playing alongside that, the passion the boys have for the jersey, and the excitement.
"I feel like a kid again, when you get in that first team, you almost can't believe that you're there."
Stander's Ireland team-mate, Munster centre Jared Payne, has also been handed a start by Gatland.
Having recovered from a lacerated kidney sustained on international duty late last year, Payne missed the tour opener due to a calf problem but will now make his Lions debut against the country of his birth.
"It's been a bit of a roller coaster of a season for me, so it's a bit of a relief just to be able to get out there on the field," he said.
"Sometimes you can come straight back in and perform well, others it might not go for you.
"So I've just got to do what I can and work to make sure I can go well."