Cape Town – Munster lock Jean Kleyn believes that his team need to ensure that they are not distracted by the potential sideshow surrounding Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba’s comments ahead of Saturday’s United Rugby Championship final.
A video posted on social media showed Dweba celebrating with his teammates in a private suite at Cape Town Stadium after Munster beat Leinster 16-15 in the second semi-final on 13 May, which meant that the Stormers would host the final on home soil.
Joseph Dweba would like a word! Let’s go! pic.twitter.com/q1PCHKkT1J— Captain Springbok (@CaptSpringbok) May 19, 2023
Dweba was heard saying “We are gonna f**k them up”, and forwards coach Rito Hlungwani said this week that while the Springbok front-ranker “has a bit of a mouth on him, he is one guy who usually backs up his words”.
“Saying what he said wasn’t something that was meant to go out to the public. It’s not necessarily his fault. If there is one guy who I would love to back up his own words, it is Joseph,” Hlungwani added.
Dweba’s words could serve as extra motivation for the Munster pack in particular to get stuck in at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (6.30pm kickoff), especially as the Irish province are unbeaten in two games against John Dobson’s team.
“I didn’t actually see the video myself – I don’t really tend to go looking for those kinds of things if it didn’t come across my path. I heard a lot about it, though,” Kleyn – a former Stormers lock himself who left Cape Town in 2016 – said on Wednesday.
“Any team that gets a home final would be delighted with it. Whatever was said in the video and what happened, I’m not sure. But from my perspective, if the roles were reversed, we’d be delighted as well (to have a home final).
“So, I’ve heard a lot of talk about the video, but to be honest, I think it’s all a lot of puff. For any team, getting a home final after thinking they’d be playing Leinster away, I think Munster at home seems pretty good.
“But, I’d say, we’ll see on Saturday what the result leads to ...
“I think once again, we are reading way too much into it. I think from a player’s standpoint, you couldn’t exactly have the coach (Hlungwani) go, ‘Oh no, we’re definitely not going to do that’.
“I’d say, they were obviously a few beers in after the game, and things were said … You can’t back down after a statement like that, so I think that’s as much as (there) is in it.
“We know that we have to go out and do … We are very much up for the battle, so we’ll see what happens on Saturday. I think we’re prepping ourselves to do our best and perform at our highest level, and I don’t think there’s anything else to be said about the video, to be honest.”
Munster have been on an incredible run to make it to the title decider, having gone unbeaten in four consecutive away games against the Stormers, Sharks, Glasgow Warriors and Leinster.
But despite recording their first triumph over Irish rivals Leinster in 12 years, it doesn’t mean that their season is over.
“We are absolutely not in bonus territory – there is nothing bonus about this. This is what we played towards. This is what we’ve been working towards for the last 48 weeks: the final. It wasn’t the victory over Leinster in the semi-final,” Kleyn said.
“In the greater scheme of things, that means absolutely nothing to us. Why should a victory over Leinster in the semi-final be bigger over the reigning champions at their home ground?
“We’ve flown 10 000km to come and play them in front of a crowd of 55 000 people – of which 53 000 will be Stormers supporters. How is that overshadowed by a victory over Leinster?
“Look, I’m not taking anything away from the victory over Leinster … obviously it was a very big thing for us. But that’s not the be-all and end-all. That’s not why we play. Munster aren’t there to beat Leinster: Munster are there to win championships.”