South African lock Jean Kleyn makes his return to action for Munster’s Guinness Pro 14 clash with Bernard Jackman’s Dragons this Friday.
The former Western Province man was in flying form in the early stages of the campaign, however, a neck injury picked up in the third game of the season against Glasgow has seen his playing time limited so far, this season.
“I had a little bit of a nerve issue but that seems to have cleared up so good to go again. Glad to be back with the team and back in training and hopefully this weekend back in the mix as well.”
Kleyn suffered with his neck last season as well but says this injury isn’t related to the previous one. “It was sort of the same area but it was a non-related issue. Just got my head on the wrong side in the tackle against Glasgow, just caused a bit of nerve flare up, nothing serious.
Munster’s form domestically as of late has been poor, losing three of their last four contests. However, Kleyn says the side are trying to stay positive and focus on improvements that must be made.
“To be fair to Connacht they played well and we were expecting them to really come to us, because they saw an opportunity, they rested a lot of their players, a lot of their top players in the weeks leading up to last weekend’s match.
“We are a little bit down after the weekends loss but there’s still a positive vibe in the camp, sort of onwards upwards, look forward rather than backward. We reassessed the situation.”
“We’re actually not doing too badly if you look at the European cup log, we’re tied for top spot in our pool and we’re second in the pro 14 so all in all we’re not doing too badly but like I said we’re refocusing on this weekend and then we’re going into a break after that so we’re going to have some good time, everyone can sort of do a little inspection and refocus”
Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus is forced to make wholesale changes this week with a number of key players called into the National squad for the November Internationals. As a senior member of the setup Kleyn will shoulder more of the responsibility in the coming games but he believes that the players that remain in the Munster camp are ready for the challenge.
“We did know we were going to lose a fair number of players just because of the fact they are at that level. We have been making a lot of preparations, a lot of the guys were prepped last week, that they would be playing this week most probably. I think we’re ready for it.”
“Obviously you’re losing a couple of leaders from the side but it’s a very natural transition I think. The senior guys step into the roles fairly easily because the senior players tend to always be talking and in the mix in terms of things like that. It’s quite a natural transition in our team.”
Friday Night Lights in Cork tomorrow as Dragons come to town (7.35pm, non-televised). #MUNvDRA
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) November 2, 2017
Despite the loss of the International contingent, Munster will be strong favourites against a struggling Dragons side. The game against the Welsh side will be followed by a three-week break, with another winnable tie with Zebre to come at the end of November. Kleyn admits that Munster will be looking to come away with nothing less than two bonus point wins.
“We’re just focusing on our own process’ again. We made one or two mistakes at the weekend that we want to correct. It’s just sort of re focus and re align ourselves with our own plan so we can really enforce our game plan this weekend”
“Of course, we are looking to get the five out of both of them so hopefully we will do that. We know that if we get a good win this weekend and a few of the other games fall our way we’ll be going into the break with a nice little buffer between us and the third team. It’s a very important couple of games coming up for us”