Former Stormers lock Jean Kleyn will soon be eligible to play for Ireland, the country he now considers home.
Kleyn, who made 18 appearances for the Stormers between 2014 and 2016, followed Rassie Erasmus to Munster two seasons ago and, after recovering from a neck injury, the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the Reds’ most valuable players.
Erasmus has since returned to his position as SA Rugby director of rugby, but Kleyn has dispelled any notion that he may also retrace his steps to Cape Town with a view to playing for the Springboks.
“When I moved over I knew full well that my career wouldn’t be continued in South Africa,” Kleyn told SkySports. “I’ve laid down my roots here and I’m pretty intent on just staying here. If it happens that I do get the call-up to the Irish squad in the future, I’d love to play.”
Kleyn echoes the sentiments of Michael Rhodes, a former Stormer now based at Saracens, who last week admitted that he isn’t holding out any hope of representing South Africa and that he “dreams of playing for England”.
“I’ve met some really good friends and sort of found a family of my own here in Munster,” added Kleyn. “I’ve said it before – when I’m going back to South Africa I don’t really feel like I’m going home, I feel like I’m going home when I board the plane in South Africa to come here.
“It’s an odd feeling but it’s the truth.”