Ireland international Jean Kleyn cleared to represent South Africa

By Sports Desk June 23, 2023

Ireland international forward Jean Kleyn has been cleared to represent South Africa under new eligibility rules.

The Johannesburg-born Munster lock qualified for Ireland on residency and made five appearances in 2019, including two at the Japan-hosted Rugby World Cup.

He has not been selected since then, though, and therefore qualifies for South Africa under a new regulation.

Since the start of last year, players can switch to their country of birth – or their parents’ or grandparents’ birth – provided a minimum period of three years has elapsed since they were last selected for an adopted country.

SA Rugby said World Rugby confirmed to them on Thursday that Kleyn fulfilled the necessary “birthright transfer” requirements.

Kleyn has made more than 130 Munster appearances and helped them win the United Rugby Championship title last season.

He is currently part of South Africa’s Rugby Championship training squad, with the Springboks kicking off that campaign against Australia in Pretoria on July 8.

Kleyn becomes the latest international player to switch countries ahead of the World Cup, following the likes of Charles Piutau (New Zealand to Tonga), Israel Folau (Australia to Tonga), Henry Thomas (England to Wales) and Byron McGuigan (Scotland to Namibia).

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