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Munster's South African Second Row Announces Desire To Play For Ireland

Munster's South African Second Row Announces Desire To Play For Ireland
By Gavin Cooney
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Ireland could have another South African project player in the mix for the 2019 World Cup, with Munster second-row Jean Kleyn admitting to Sky Sports that he wants to play for Ireland.

Having arrived in Limerick in 2016, Kleyn will be eligible for Ireland in September 2019, under the old, three-year residency rule.

Ahead of the Champions Cup tie with Racing, Kleyn said that he knew that his international career would not be with South Africa when he made the move to Munster, and admitted that an international career with Ireland appealed to him.

When I moved over I knew full well that my career wouldn't be continued in South Africa.

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.

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.

I even think the climate suits me a bit better because I prefer the cold to the hot! I actually do. I get hot really easily so the cold climate really suits me.

The guys always make fun of me because I'll be wearing shorts and flip-flops well into winter, that's just how I am!

I've really bought into the place I think and it's the people as well. The people are so friendly and welcoming that you sort of have no choice but to feel at home, if that makes sense.

I've been loving the place and I don't see myself moving anywhere quickly.


This was followed by the charm offensive...

Home is when I board a plane in South Africa to come here.

With Kleyn only qualifying for Ireland in September, it may be difficult for him to break into the World Cup squad. While Bundee Aki was parachuted in as soon as he became Irish -eligible, that was for a trio of November internationals with ample time to prove himself to Schmidt ahead of the World Cup.

Nonetheless, should Kleyn force his way in, the curious scenario will continue in which Tipperary-born Donnacha Ryan misses out, and is replaced by a South African-born player who has lived in Ireland for three years.

The full interview is on Sky Sports.


See Also: Munster Reportedly "Disappointed" With Rassie Erasmus' Efforts To Poach Munster Talent

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