Belfast Telegraph

Kleyn can still force way into Irish World Cup mix


Challenge: Jean Kleyn is loving life at Munster
Challenge: Jean Kleyn is loving life at Munster

By Cian Tracey

We have reached the point in the season where the World Cup is looming large and every player in contention of making the plane to Japan will inevitably be asked about it.

Rugby round up Newsletter

Game previews, plus expert insights and exclusive commentary from the Belfast Telegraph sports team.

Most will make out that it is the last thing on their mind, and while that may be the case for some of the more experienced players, it is difficult not to imagine it being at the forefront of everyone's minds.

For someone like Jean Kleyn the situation is slightly different in that he has not yet been in and around the Ireland squad.

But, given that he will be qualified to play for his adopted country in September, the Munster lock will likely be at least considered by Joe Schmidt.

Missing the majority of the warm-up games in August won't help his cause, though, and the South African-born 25-year old would have to benefit from injuries in what is a well-stocked engine room.

Nevertheless, Kleyn's performances this season for Munster - who host Benetton in Saturday's Guinness PRO14 quarter-final - merit the conversation at least, and while some will still moan about World Rugby's residency rules, the former Stormers enforcer is playing by them.

When pressed on if he had any contact from Schmidt or anyone within the IRFU, Kleyn was reluctant to say, but the fact he recently signed a new three-year deal told you everything you need to know about his international intentions.

"It's something I was very open about," Kleyn reflects on his move to Munster three years ago.

"I was very open-minded coming towards it and you have to be if you're basically packing up your life and leaving.

"I was very committed to the move. I approached it in the manner of 'I'm coming here to stay here' not 'I'm coming here to see how it goes and then maybe…'

"I think that was part of what has made it so easy for me, that and the Irish people are so friendly, so welcoming. It's a sincere welcome as well.

"There's no pretence about it, it's really good."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph