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Jean Kleyn cleared to play for Springboks

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by NIall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)

World Rugby has officially confirmed that Jean Kleyn, the now former Irish international lock, has been granted clearance to be considered for selection in the Springbok squad.

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Kleyn’s transfer under the new eligibility rules, aka ‘birthright transfer,’ were confirmed by World Rugby on Thursday. These regulations, implemented at the beginning of 2022, permit players to represent their country of birth, as well as the birth countries of their parents or grandparents, provided that a minimum period of 36 months has passed since their last appearance for an adopted nation.

Jean Kleyn, originally from Johannesburg and now 29 years old, satisfied all the requirements for birthright transfer, making him eligible for Springbok selection. Kleyn made the decision to move to Ireland in 2016, subsequently qualifying for selection in the Irish national team through residency in 2019. In the same year, he was chosen to represent Ireland in the Rugby World Cup, where he appeared in five matches. However, he has not been selected for the national team since then.

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While Kleyn’s Test career with Ireland hasn’t been noteworthy, he has amassed an impressive record with Munster. Standing at an imposing height of 2.03 meters, he has made over 130 appearances for the Limerick based outfit. He was an integral part of Munster’s recent triumph in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final against the Stormers, which was held in Cape Town just last month.

Currently, Jean Kleyn is actively participating in the Springbok Castle Lager Rugby Championship training camp. Following his eligibility clearance, he can now be considered for selection as early as next month. The Springboks’ highly anticipated 2023 season will commence with a match against Australia at Loftus Versfeld. It remains to be seen how Kleyn’s inclusion in the Springbok squad will unfold and what contributions he will make to the team’s World Cup campaign.

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Turlough 3 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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