Rassie Erasmus thrilled to have ‘experienced’ Jean Kleyn at Springboks disposal

Munster's Gavin Coombes celebrates scoring a try with Jean Kleyn (R).

Jean Kleyn (R) has been cleared to play for the Springboks by World Rugby. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Published Jun 23, 2023


Durban - SA Rugby boss Rassie Erasmus is thrilled that World Rugby has given the Springboks the green light to pick Munster lock Jean Kleyn.

Erasmus coached Kleyn at both the Stormers and Munster and was keen to reclaim the 29-year-old for South Africa via World Rugby’s new Regulation 8. This rule allows a player to play for the country of his birth if three years have elapsed since he last played for his adopted country.

“Jean’s clearance is great news for the team in this important season,” said Erasmus, who earlier this week described the powerful lock as ‘a monster.’ Kleyn played five Tests for Ireland at the 2019 World Cup but has not played for them since.

“His international experience increases our depth at lock while at the same time boosts the experience in the squad in a year in which every match is vital in our preparations for the World Cup,” Erasmus added.

Erasmus was speaking at the end of the Boks’ second week of their training camp in Pretoria, on Friday. Coach Jacques Nienaber added that he is pleased with the squad’s progress after the last two weeks of field and gym sessions as well as team meetings.

The group will re-assemble in Pretoria on Sunday for the final week of the training camp, before entering the Australia Test week a week later.

“Things are coming together nicely,” said Nienaber. “The intensity of our training sessions is good and it’s pleasing to see how we are progressing. We had a good base to build from thanks to the camps earlier in the season, and we’ve built on that steadily since getting together.

“We also started zooming into the Tests against Australia and New Zealand because it’s vital that we are well prepared going into those Test matches. We need a good Rugby Championship campaign before entering our World Cup warm-up matches and the global spectacle itself later in the season.”

The Springboks will play three Tests in the abbreviated version of the Rugby Championship -- against Australia (8 July), New Zealand in Auckland (Saturday 15 July) and Argentina at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg (Saturday 29 July).

The team will then play three World Cup warm-up games – against Argentina in Buenos Aires (5 August), Wales in Cardiff (19 August) and New Zealand in London (25 August) before travelling to Corsica for a one-week camp en route to Toulon for their opening World Cup fixture against Scotland on Sunday 10 September.