Jean Kleyn on the Cheetahs “Getting used to the European way of playing rugby will be their biggest challenge”

Jean Kleyn on the Cheetahs “Getting used to the European way of playing rugby will be their biggest challenge but I expect them to improve as the season goes on.”

24 year old South Africa native Jean Kleyn gears up to play the Toyota Cheetahs this Saturday, as the ex-South African Super Rugby franchise visit Thomond Park for the first time. The second row was impressive in his last outing for the province, claiming two tries in a standout performance.

Before moving to Munster Kleyn made a total of 18 appearances for Super Rugby side the Stormers, while he also won the Currie Cup with Western Province in 2014.

6’8″ lock Kleyn, was introduced as a substitute against the Cheetahs in 2015, as the Stormers ran out 42-12 winners in a Super Rugby clash in at Newlands.

The Linden native views the inclusion of the two South African franchises into the new Guinness Pro 14 format as a positive in terms of competition and from a viewership point of view.

“It’s great for the competition. From a South African perspective it’s good because you’re going Interational, which is always good for the sport and it’s on the same timeline. From a viewership perspective it’s a lot better because if you’re playing at 7 o’clock and it’s 8 o’clock back home, so it’s much more watchable versus your classic New Zealand/South Africa or New Zealand/Australia games. Out of the competitiveness aspect, it’s really good for the competition to bring some new blood in.”

Munster’s South African representation grew in the off-season with the signing of flanker Chris Cloete and lock Gerbrandt Grobler, both of whom have Super Rugby experience. Kleyn says that it adds an extra element to the games against SA opposition this season while also providing he and his compatriots the chance to return home for a few weeks during the season.

“The Saffer boys aren’t exacly disappointed by the fact that we might get a week or two back home but it’s all part of the fun. A lot of us know the guys from back home and have played against them so I’d say it’ll be quite interesting.”

The Cheetahs are missing their South African contingent through Rugby Championship and Curry Cup involvement, Kleyn expects them to improve as those players come back into the fold and as the side come to terms with the European style of rugby. “Getting used to the whole Pro 14, European, way of playing rugby will be their biggest challenge but I expect them to improve as the season goes on.”

Ahead of the game this Saturday Kleyn says that he’s expecting an expansive game from the Cheetahs, weather permitting, and knows that Munster must be diligent in their preperation in order to come out with a win.

“It’s probably going to be quite an expansive game, if it’s a dry day they enjoy playing wide, they’ve got a lot of quick backs. Also, defensively in lineouts their quite good so we’ll have to tick all the boxes at training heading into the weekend.”

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