Munster lock Jean Kleyn admits URC title win would be ‘incredible’ as Leinster success put to bed

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Jean Kleyn for Munster Credit: Alamy
Jean Kleyn for Munster Credit: Alamy

Munster second-row Jean Kleyn insists his side is “absolutely not in bonus territory” as they look to claim United Rugby Championship (URC) glory on Saturday.

The Irish province are full of confidence after their excellent run of form that has seen them beat both Glasgow Warriors and Leinster in the knockouts.

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What made their victories all the more impressive was that they came on their travels as Munster‘s away form has been turning heads in the competition.

Kleyn though has silenced any talk that the semi-final triumph over Leinster was their ultimate, with the final against the Stormers now the key objective.

Not in bonus territory

“Well, we are absolutely not in bonus territory. There’s nothing bonus about this. This is what we play for, this is what we have been working the last 48 weeks towards. It’s a final, it wasn’t a victory over Leinster in the semi-final,” he told the media this week.

“In the greater scheme of things that means absolutely nothing to us. Like, why should a victory over Leinster in a semi-final be bigger than a victory over the reigning champions at their home ground?

“You’ve flown 10,000 kilometres to play in front of a crowd of 55,000 people, of which maybe 53,000 will be Stormers supporters. How is that overshadowed by a victory over Leinster?

“Look, I’m not taking anything away from the victory over Leinster, it was obviously a very big thing for us but 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.”

Kleyn is now a veteran of Munster and is subsequently that bit more determined to end a 12-year trophy drought this weekend against his former team.

In his time in red he’s played under the late Anthony Foley, Rassie Erasmus and Johann van Graan and says a win would mean “absolutely everything”.

“I’ve been with Munster a good few years now. I’ve 100 and 30 something caps, as far as a club means something to me, it means everything to me at the moment,” he told RTE, explaining the impact Graham Rowntree and his coaching team has had on the side.

“For us to win a trophy, it would be incredible, it is something we’ve been building towards over the last seven years, I would say since Axel passed away.

“There has been upset and a lot of changes in coaching staff and we’ve struggled to get cohesion through the last seven years but this year we’ve potentially cracked it, in terms of our coaching staff, are really coaching a very exciting brand of rugby and we’re all really enjoying playing it.”

Title would mean a lot

“I think for us it means a lot, yeah,” he added.

“I think it’s something we’ve been coaching for a while, the calmness in the chaos.

“I think because we’ve placed such an emphasis on it, just be calm in the moment, you know you think you have no time, you have way more time than you think.

“For us, it’s really becoming second nature to take a breath and just find a little bit of stillness in the chaos.

“I don’t know any player in professional rugby would not be up for a final so there is obviously going to be that factor, are we going to be over emotional no, do we plan in barging on and throwing fists? Probably not but we’ll be emotionally up for it, absolutely.”

READ MORE: Stormers v Munster: Five key head-to-heads to watch in the URC Grand Final

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