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24th May 2023

Jean Kleyn emphatically shuts down question about Munster being in ‘bonus territory’

Patrick McCarry

Jean Kleyn

“There’s nothing bonus about this.”

Munster are in Cape Town and preparing for this Saturday’s United Rugby Championship Final against Stormers [kick-off 5:30pm]. While not many outside the province expected Graham Rowntree’s side to make it this far, do not tell Jean Kleyn and his teammates this final is a free hit.

It has been 12 years since Munster last lifted silverware – in the 2011 Magners League final – with Keith Earls, Conor Murray and Stephen Archer the only current players to have featured in that decider [not bad, in fairness].

This is the fourth final Munster will be competing in since their last trophy lift and they will go into Saturday’s final as underdogs, against the reigning URC champions.

Munster were also underdogs, on the road, for their quarter final against Glasgow Warriors and their last four encounter with Leinster. And yet here they are. However, when a reporter asked Kleyn about Munster being ‘in bonus territory’ against Stormers, the lock bristled.

“Well, we’re absolutely not in bonus territory. There’s nothing bonus about this.

“This is what we play towards, you know. This is what we’ve been working the last 48 weeks towards. It’s a final. It wasn’t a victory over Leinster in the semi-final. In the greater scheme of things, that means absolutely nothing to us. Why should a victory over Leinster in the semi-final be bigger than a victory over the reigning champions at their home ground?

“We’ve flown, what, 10,000 kilometres to come play them in front of a crowd of 50,000, 55,000 people, which maybe 53,000 of them will be Stormers supporters. How was that overshadowed by the victory over Leinster?”

“Look,” Kleyn added, “I’m not taking anything away from the victory over Leinster

“It was, obviously, a really big thing for us, but like that’s not the be-all and end-all. That’s not why we play. Munster isn’t there to beat Leinster. Munster is there to win championships.”

Jean KleynRobbie Henshaw of Leinster is tackled by Jean Kleyn and Gavin Coombes of Munster during the United Rugby Championship semi-final. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

Jean Kleyn on Stormers video celebrations

The Munster lock was also asked about the video of Stormers players, fans and their coaches celebrating getting that home final against his side. In that video, Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba was captured declaring, ‘We’re going to f*** them up!’

“I don’t really go looking for those kinds of things and [the video] didn’t cross my path,” said Jean Kleyn. “I heard a lot about it, though.

“Look, I think any team that gets a home final would be delighted with it, you know? Whatever was said in the video or whatever happened, I’m not sure. But from my perspective, I think if the roles were reversed, we’d be delighted as well.

“So, yeah, I’ve heard a lot of talk about the video but to be honest, it’s all a load of puff.”

Graham Rowntree and Stormers coach John Dobson will name their respective match-day 23s on Friday at midday.

Munster face Stormers at DHL Stadium, in Cape Town from 5:30pm this Saturday, May 27.


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