WATCH: Jean Kleyn and Mike Haley look back on Ireland debuts

Two Munster men made their Ireland debuts at the weekend with Jean Kleyn and Mike Haley earning their first international caps in Ireland’s 29-10 win over Italy on Saturday.

The clash at the Aviva Stadium was the first Rugby World Cup warm-up match for Joe Schmidt’s side with games against England and Wales (two) coming up ahead of the side’s departure to Japan.

Kleyn was handed a start on his debut with Haley featuring off the bench as Andrew Conway earned the Man of the Match award in a game that saw nine Munster men feature.

After making a big impression on his first Ireland cap, Kleyn said,

“I have to say I am bloody delighted. It has been an absolute honour representing my adopted country for the first time.

“A lot of hard work and then at the end of the day it pays of. I am just grateful to Munster, all the work the coaches have done with me and obviously the Irish coaches as well for giving me a shot.

“All my family hopped on a plane from South Africa when they heard (I would be involved in this game), so there was a good few of them actually sitting in the crowd today, so I’m delighted about that. It is good to know I can share it with them as well.”

Hear more from Kleyn below on Ireland Rugby’s YouTube page.

Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.

YouTube privacy policy

If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.

Following the game, Mike Haley said:

“When you’re making your debut off the bench, you actually don’t know what circumstance it’s going to come under. It was great to be able get around 20 minutes out onto the field.

“It was on Monday morning I found out that I was going to be on the bench. Then it was more just preparing this, that and the other. Obviously it’s very special to be able to make your debut. I was ringing around the family, seeing who could come over. Obviously my partner and baby were here for the game, so it was really special.

“It’s some thrill when you get your card and your name called. Up onto the edge of the pitch and off you go. It was great.

Haley made a big impression having joined Munster last summer and made 26 starts in his debut season at the province having joined from Sale Sharks.

Guinness Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 10/8/2019 Ireland vs Italy Ireland’s Mike Haley with his son Frank after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

His maternal grandmother hails from Tralee in County Kerry and Haley’s move to Ireland has proven a huge success.

“My Grandma has been drilling it into me every now and then! It came up when I was coming up out of contract (at Sale). I’d spoken to Munster a few times over the years and I kinda kept tabs with Joe (Schmidt).

“The opportunity came first to come to a province like Munster – that doesn’t come around all the time. I jumped at that and it was very much ‘go out and play and we’ll see what happens on the international scene’.

“You’ve got to be a little bit realistic about it. I’ve come into this with zero caps and now I’ve one cap. I can’t be expecting to go so far. I need to be short-minded and short-visioned that I’m going to do this for this week and then reset on Sunday and away you go again.

“That’s just my mentality. I don’t want to look too far into the future. I just want to enjoy what I’m doing at the time. That’s the first cap out of the way. I’ve got a bit of a taste for it now and I want to get some more.”

Social Sharing

Posted in

WATCH: Munster release highlight packages for departing players

Over the past week, Munster Rugby have announced a number of departures for the Province with Sammy Arnold, ...
Read More

WATCH: George Lee and Matthew Potter document the history of Thomond Park

Thomond Park is one of the most well known stadiums worldwide, home to two time European Heineken Cup ...
Read More

Munster confirm departure of trio as Brian Scott is forced to retire

Munster Rugby can confirm that prop Brian Scott, who last lined out for the province in November 2018, ...
Read More
Old Crescent

Old Crescent RFC confirm new President for coming season

Paul Donnellan has been elected President of Old Crescent RFC for the coming season. Paul has been an ...
Read More

Munster Rugby Update with Chris Farrell

The Munster players have been working on remote training programs since the middle off March. Chris Farrell spoke ...
Read More

WATCH: Munster’s Epic 2004 Heineken Cup Semi-Final against Wasps this Saturday

The Heineken Champions Cup Rewind has something special in store this Saturday (May 30) with the opportunity to rewatch the incredible 2004 semi-final between ...
Read More

QUIZ: Name Ireland’s Lions since 2009

International Rugby is still some way away due to the ongoing pandemic. However, there is still much hope ...
Read More

BREAKING: End of August return planned for Guinness Pro 14

IRFU Chief Executive, Philip Browne, has today announced Irish Rugby’s ‘Return to Train and Play’ proposals have been submitted ...
Read More