MUNSTER LOCK JEAN Kleyn is braced for an almighty physical encounter when the southern province open their Heineken Cup campaign away to Exeter on Saturday.
Last year’s beaten Premiership finalists have begun the new season in sensational form, stringing together six straight wins while scoring 29 tries en route to five bonus points.
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Kleyn is well aware that it will take an enormous effort for Munster to topple Rob Baxter’s all-terrain truck of a team.
“They have conceded the least amount of tries (11) and they have scored the most tries,” said the South African.
“They’re a very good side and I think, on the day, it’s going to come down to physically dominating them between the four white lines, that’s probably where a lot of games are won.
“We would love to do that, but it’s about discipline as well. They look for you, when they defend a lot of phases, they want you to cough it up, to make a mistake and also their attack they will attack and attack and attack and wait for you to make a mistake and that is where the capitalize.
“So it’s all about discipline for us, not just penalties but also discipline in defence; making your tackles, getting up, re-loading.”
He added: “against Ulster, there was a good few phases when we didn’t have the ball. Our defence was really good, we are improving week by week in terms of our defence and we will get more comfortable without the ball. I think we are defending very well and now it gets to the stage where we force them to cough up the ball, which is coming.”
The 25-year-old recently agreed to a new three-year contract to keep him at his adopted province until 2022. In addition to retaining his explosive contact skills, Munster will have an additional Irish qualified player as the Krugersdorp native will satisfy the (since-extended) three-year residency rule ahead of next season.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Ahead of the World Cup too, of course, so Kleyn is available for Joe Schmidt if he wishes to call on him for Japan 2019.
“I have to play a full season of really good rugby with Munster before I can achieve that at all. I’ve been asked that question a few times, I say it all the time: I’m here to play for Munster until otherwise. My mind is here on Exeter this weekend, then on Gloucester next weekend.”
“I said it when I moved over a couple of years ago. I wasn’t moving over with the aspirations of moving back (in the hope of becoming a Springbok), I was moving over knowing my career would probably be here for the next 10 years ago and hopefully I can achieve that.”
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