Jean Kleyn pledge allegiance to Limerick as Springboks Patient in Replacing Departing Coach Jacques Nienaber…

Jean Kleyn’s Unforgettable Journey from Limerick to World Cup Glory with the Springboks…

Limerick has become my new home, and the support I’ve received has been incredible,” says Jean Kleyn, who now proudly possesses a World Cup winner’s medal only a few months after Rassie Erasmus unexpectedly approached him.

When Rassie Erasmus initially contacted Jean Kleyn, he had a peculiar caveat to share: “I’m about to disrupt your holiday,” Erasmus informed the Munster lock. Kleyn had been all set to enjoy a summer break following Munster’s success in the United Rugby Championship (URC), having been previously overlooked for Ireland’s World Cup training squad. But Erasmus extended an offer for him to switch allegiance back to his native South Africa, and Kleyn’s vacation plans were suddenly put on hold. He quickly joined the Springboks’ camp as they prepared for the Rugby Championship, which ultimately led to the World Cup.

Reflecting on that initial call from Erasmus, Kleyn now laughs and says, “He certainly disrupted my holiday, but he provided me with an opportunity I never thought I’d have.” He expresses his deep gratitude to Rassie Erasmus, Jacques Nienaber, the entire coaching staff, his teammates, and acknowledges the privilege of being part of this incredible dream.

Kleyn’s gratitude is profound, but it’s important to note that he seized the opportunity with both hands. His swift adaptation to life with the Springboks was instrumental in his involvement off the bench in the final victory over New Zealand.

According to Kleyn, joining the Springboks felt like “riding a bike,” as he was already familiar with many of the players from his time at the Stormers and had played against them as well. He attributes his ease of transition to the welcoming and positive atmosphere within the team.

Munster also played a crucial role in supporting Kleyn’s journey. Despite the door closing with Ireland after he won five caps in the green jersey in 2019, he embraced the opportunity with the Springboks.

Kleyn has been deeply moved by the overwhelming support from South Africa and has also received encouragement from Ireland. He acknowledges the incredible support from “home,” considering Limerick as his home now.

Kleyn credits the coaching staff at Munster, including Graham Rowntree, Mike Prendergast, Denis Leamy, and others, for his development as a player and his ability to convince Erasmus that he could be a Springbok. The coaching system and the team’s culture have been instrumental in their success.

Kleyn looks forward to returning to life with Munster once the celebrations subside. Meanwhile, the Springboks are preparing for a trophy tour in South Africa.

As this version of the Springboks undergoes changes, with Nienaber, Felix Jones, and some veteran players moving on, Kleyn hopes to create more memorable experiences in South African colors. He sees a bright future for South African rugby with young talents emerging to fill various positions.


Springboks Patient in Replacing Departing Coach Jacques Nienaber…

The Springboks, the reigning World Cup champions, are not in a hurry to find a replacement for their departing head coach, Jacques Nienaber, as per reports emerging from South Africa.

Jacques Nienaber, a 51-year-old native of Kimberley, had already disclosed his decision to leave the Springboks for Leinster, the Irish provincial team, following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup. In this role, he would be taking over from former England head coach Stuart Lancaster in Dublin.

Nienaber, working alongside the director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, played a pivotal role in guiding South Africa to a historic fourth Rugby World Cup title. This triumph was achieved as the Springboks edged out New Zealand with a score of 12-11 in a thrilling final at the Stade de France in Paris.

Reports suggest that Rassie Erasmus, known for his influential presence in the world of rugby during his tenure with the South African national team, will temporarily assume coaching responsibilities until the team makes a considered decision about Nienaber’s successor.

Reflecting on this coaching staff’s remarkable journey following Saturday’s victory, team captain Siya Kolisi emphasized the challenges they had overcome. He expressed his deep appreciation for Jacques Nienaber, whom he had known since the age of 17 and credited for his personal and professional growth. Nienaber’s impact extended beyond the rugby field, as he cared about the players as individuals, urging them to be better for the sake of their families.

Kolisi added, “Jacques, honestly, it’s been a tremendous honor and privilege. We value you as a member of our team, not just as a coach, but as a person.”

Rassie Erasmus, who had faced suspension twice in two years for his outspoken comments about referees, including an incident in 2022 regarding the World Cup final referee Wayne Barnes, remains a prominent figure in South African rugby.

In contrast, Jacques Nienaber maintained a lower profile on social media and in dealings with World Rugby. He has secured a prestigious role at Leinster, although critics have raised concerns about the level of challenge it may offer him.

It’s worth noting that Munster, Leinster’s fierce rivals, can also claim to have played a role in the development of Rassie Erasmus, as he spent time coaching at the Limerick-based province.

As international rugby takes a break until February when the Six Nations resumes, Wales is set to face the Barbarians this weekend in Wales.


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