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'I've no doubt that he'll be banging on the right doors': POM backs Kleyn for Ireland

The Munster second row this week signed a new long-term contract with the province.

IN A WEEK dominated by concerns over Munster’s malfunctioning away form, and inconsistent start to the season, there was at least the news Jean Kleyn has committed his long-term future to the province.

The South African-born second row has been a powerful weapon in the Munster pack over the last two years, and with his intentions now set in stone, the path has been paved for Kleyn to represent Ireland.

Jean Kleyn Kleyn committed his future to Munster this week. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The 25-year-old joined the southern province from the Stormers in 2016 and becomes eligible to represent Ireland under World Rugby residency rules in September 2019 — weeks before the start of the World Cup in Japan.  

His commitment to Munster through to 2021 is a boost for Johann van Graan’s side, and indeed a shrewd piece of business given the impact Kleyn has made in his 42 appearances in red to date.

While time will be tight to force his way into Joe Schmidt’s plans for Japan, Kleyn has certainly shown all the credentials required for Test level, and Peter O’Mahony believes his consistently excellent performances will put him right in the mix.

“Jean has a great way of going about his work, he’s a very diligent man, he works hard and keeps the head down and he’s very, very effective in what he does and he knows what he’s very good at and works hard at it,” the Munster captain said of his team-mate. 

“I’ve no doubt that if he continues the way he has been performing at the moment, taking his form from last year into this season, I’ve no doubt that he’ll be banging on the right doors.

“But he’ll know himself that performance is key — consistency of performance. And he knows that better than anyone.”

Kleyn starts tomorrow’s Guinness Pro14 inter-pro against Ulster [KO 7.35pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports] from the bench, but his worth in the engine room is unquestionable. 

Van Graan added: “I think obviously he will strive to play international rugby but that’s not in my control.

“The only thing I can do is try to make people happy at Munster and at this stage I think we’ve got a very happy squad.

“You can ask the players about that but people want to be part of our club and our club stands for certain values, and he fits into those values so it’s great to have him at our club.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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