Munster second row Jean Kleyn will remain with the Irish province beyond this season after signing a new three-year extension.
The towering South African had nine months remaining on his old deal, having joined from the Stormers two and a half years ago. By remaining with Munster and the IRFU, the 25-year-old will pass the criteria to gain Irish residency in time for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Kleyn has already expressed his interest in representing Ireland rather than his native South Africa, sharing his view that he hopes to gain the attention of Joe Schmidt after becoming a key component to Johann van Graan’s game plans.
“When I moved over I knew full well that my career wouldn’t be continued in South Africa,” Kleyn told Sky Sports in January.
“I’ve laid down my roots here and I’m pretty intent on just staying here and if it happens that I do get the call-up to the Irish squad in the future, I’d love to play, but obviously that’s not set in stone or anything like that.
“I’m just going to keep playing my rugby and hope I’m good enough to make the cut.”
A shot at making the plane for the World Cup seems unlikely for Kleyn as he will qualify for Ireland at a time when their schedule of warm-up matches is nearing its end.
Kleyn has amassed 42 appearances so far for the PRO14 side, scoring six tries, and was nominated for Munster’s player of the year last season.
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