Kleyn played for Ireland in 2019
South Africa have selected Ireland international Jean Kleyn in their 2023 Rugby Championship training squad. The Springboks have filed an application to World Rugby to determine whether he is eligible to play for the Rugby World Cup holders. They say the decision is expected soon.
If he is accepted he could play for the Springboks for the July competition. He will then be looking ahead for a spot in the squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Kleyn could then potentially play his former nation Ireland as South Africa are in the same pool as Andy Farrell’s team.
Related: South Africa Rugby World Cup squad
The lock, who won the URC final against South Africa’s Stormers with club side Munster, won his first cap for Ireland in 2019 against Italy. His last cap for the country came against Samoa at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. His lack of game time since has enabled him to switch allegiances to South Africa, for whom he qualifies as it is his country of birth.
South Africa select Ireland international: The rules
World Rugby’s rules about switching allegiance changed in 2021. The new rules state if you have not played for the country for three years you are eligible to play for another nation once they have served a stand-down period from international rugby for 36 months if they were born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country.
“When I was approached, I was overwhelmed by the opportunity to be part of the Springbok squad. I couldn’t let the chance pass,” Kleyn told Rapport. “This opportunity that my home country is offering me is an honour that I never thought I would get.”
South Africa select Ireland international: Who else has switched allegiance?
Kleyn is not the only player to make the switch between nations.
Ex-Australia international Jack Dempsey now plays for Scotland, Australia player Israel Folau now competes for Tonga after he was sacked by Australia for making homophobic posts online and former New Zealand international Vaea Fifita also plays for Tonga among others.
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