Jean Kleyn Springboks camp

Jean Kleyn. Image via Instagram @jeankleyn

WATCH: Springbok star Jean Kleyn tells all in epic interview

Former Ireland international Jean Kleyn has reflected on his incredible 2023 season which saw him win the URC and Rugby World Cup with the Springboks.

Jean Kleyn Springboks camp

Jean Kleyn. Image via Instagram @jeankleyn

Former Ireland international Jean Kleyn has reflected on his incredible 2023 season.

At the outset of the term, Kleyn was a Munster contracted former Ireland international with seemingly little chance of heading to the Rugby World Cup.

WATCH: Springbok Jean Kleyn opens up in interview

However, a sterling campaign with Munster as they lifted the URC trophy caught the eye of the Springboks.

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Aware of the new rules allowing players to revert their international allegience to the country of their birth, the Springboks moved to call up the veteran second row.

Kleyn still can’t quite believe that he is at another World Cup and this time is in the Green and Gold he dreamed of donning as a child.

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“I think I’ve caught myself thinking about it probably too often,” Kleyn said of his curious Test career.

“It’s a strange one because if you’d asked me six months ago if I at all thought I had any chance of being here at the World Cup final playing for the Springboks, I would have told you you are absolutely insane.

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“I’ll probably wake up when it’s all said and done and think, ‘was that a dream or did it actually happen?’. It was outside the realm of thinking.

“It’s been a fantastic journey for me. It’s been an absolute pleasure being part of it.”

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Kleyn says that Munster supporters have reached out to him to say that they are backing the Springboks after Ireland’s quarter-final exit.

No ribbing

He has also been surprised that the Irish rugby media haven’t given him a hard time.

“I’ve been absolutely inundated with messages from Munster supporters – obviously only after Ireland fell out,” said Kleyn.

“Then they really came after us and said, ‘listen, you’re our second team now, guys’.

“The support was really heartfelt from a lot of Munster fans and it made it a lot easier for me because I thought it would be quite a negative reaction when I declared for the Springboks.

“From my history with Irish media, I figured there would be a few negative articles but it was resoundingly positive, so I was really happy about that.”