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Jean Kleyn Admits He Feels 'Detached' From Ireland Stint After South Africa Switch

Jean Kleyn Admits He Feels 'Detached' From Ireland Stint After South Africa Switch
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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The fixture between Ireland and South Africa was always going to be a massive one during this year's Rugby World Cup, but next week's game will have an extra layer added to it due to the presence of one particular players in the Springboks squad.

Jean Kleyn's time in the Irish squad was brief, with the Munster man drafted into the setup prior to the 2019 edition of the event, only to not feature for the side again after the end of the tournament.

His performances at provincial level this season led to speculation that he would be given another opportunity to play in the Rugby World Cup, although it was thought he was in contention for a spot in Andy Farrell's squad. However, after being left out of that panel, he was surprisingly called up to play by his country of birth.

Kleyn was allowed to play for South Africa due to a recent change in World Rugby's eligibility rules, which allows players to line out for another nation for which they are eligible if they have not played for their previous team in over three years.


While it was thought that this law would mostly benefit tier two nations, the South Africans have used it to their advantage on this occasion.

Jean Kleyn admits he feels 'detached' from Ireland stint

Jean Kleyn made his debut for the Springboks earlier this summer, with the 30-year old set to start in their World Cup fixture against Romania tomorrow.

Speaking ahead of that one, he admitted that his time in the two separate national team setups feel completely 'detached'. He also said he hasn't given too much thought to the possibility of lining out against his old team next week when South Africa face Ireland.


It's a bit bizarre. They feel so detached from each other because so much time has passed, in my mind at least, since the 2019 World Cup. As a person I've grown so much and as a player I've developed quite a bit as well.

For me intrinsically I'm not the same person I was in 2019. It almost feels like it was a different lifetime but obviously I'm really honoured to have played for Ireland and I'm delighted now to be representing my country of birth, South Africa, and it's an opportunity I really relish.

It's a proud moment for me and my family to get my debut for South Africa at the World Cup. If you asked me three-and-a-half months ago I would have said there's no chance, it's not even on the radar, so I'm delighted it's happened, it's an incredible opportunity...

It's not something I've thought much about (playing against Ireland). You want to play against the best teams in the world and I think Ireland is one of the best teams in the world at the moment so I'd love to play against them.

I've played against all of them throughout the years, against Leinster and Ulster and Connacht, so I know the players well and I'm looking forward to the opportunity if it does present itself.

While Kleyn is not first choice for South Africa, he could feature against Ireland due to some injury issues within the squad.


His presence would certainly add an extra layer of intrigue to what already looks like a titanic clash between two of the world's best teams.

SEE ALSO: All Blacks Praised For Classy Gesture After Horror Injury For Namibia

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