IRISH EYES: Former Stormers and Western Province lock Jean Kleyn   Pic: Twitter
IRISH EYES: Former Stormers and Western Province lock Jean Kleyn Pic: Twitter
Jean Klein in action for Munster against fellow South Africans the Free State Cheetahs. Photo: Billy Stickland/BackpagePics
Jean Klein in action for Munster against fellow South Africans the Free State Cheetahs. Photo: Billy Stickland/BackpagePics

CAPE TOWN – Former Stormers and Western Province lock Jean Kleyn says he'd “love” the opportunity to play Test rugby for his adopted country Ireland.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Kleyn said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time at Munster, where he has been based for the last 18 months after making the move away from Cape Town in 2016.

Former Munster boss and now SA director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, was the man responsible for luring Kleyn to Ireland, with the burly second-rower having quickly settled in at his new “home”.

“When I moved over I knew full well that my career wouldn't be continued in South Africa,” he commented.

“I've laid down my roots here and I'm pretty intent on just staying here and if it happens that I do get the call-up to the Irish squad in the future, I'd love to play, but obviously that's not set in stone or anything like that.”

Kleyn will be eligible for selection on residency grounds by September 2019, and it's clear that he now sees his future with Ireland.

“I'm just going to keep playing my rugby and hope I'm good enough to make the cut. I really love the place. I've been living here close to 18 months now and I've nothing to complain about.”

Jean Klein in action for Munster against fellow South Africans the Free State Cheetahs. Photo: Billy Stickland/BackpagePics

Although Kleyn was regarded as a lock with plenty of potential during his time with Western Province and the Stormers, he does admit that he was actually something of a “late bloomer”.

 ”I played rugby at high school (at Linden in Johannesburg), but sort of recreationally, if I can put it that way.

“It wasn't a really fantastic set-up and there wasn't a very strong team, I mean we struggled to field a side in my final year in rugby.”

Whatever the case may be, it's clear to see that South Africa's loss is once again Ireland's gain, with Kleyn looking in line to follow in the footsteps of South African-born CJ Stander, who is now a key member of the Ireland Test team. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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