BREAKING: Ireland forward swaps nations, will play for South Africa - Ruck

BREAKING: Ireland forward swaps nations, will play for South Africa

Jean Kleyn, the Munster lock hailing from Johannesburg, has received a call-up from South Africa for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

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This opportunity comes after his exclusion from Ireland’s Rugby World Cup training squad.

Although Kleyn has previously earned five caps for Ireland, he has not been selected for a squad since the 2019 World Cup.

Despite being overlooked by coach Andy Farrell in the recent announcement of Ireland’s squad for this year’s tournament in France, Kleyn remains determined.


His fortunes have taken a turn, as the 29-year-old finds himself included in the preliminary 40-man South African squad for the Rugby Championship, slated for next month.

This inclusion raises the possibility of Kleyn realizing his dream of participating in the World Cup after all.

5 Players Who Have Swapped Nations for the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Here are five players who have already made the most of the new laws, and swapped nations in time to represent new countries at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

  1. Jack Dempsey – Australia to Scotland

Back-rower Jack Dempsey represented the Wallabies from 2017 to 2019, and featured in their 2019 Rugby World Cup squad. Stepping away from Australian duties after their Quarter Final exit to England, Dempsey made the change to play for Scotland through his Grandfather’s heritage, with the new eligibility laws coming into affect.

Jack Dempsey of Scotland during the Scotland Captains Run ahead of the Guinness Six Nations at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on Friday 3rd February 2023 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK.

Dempsey enjoyed a seven year stint playing club rugby in Australia, for the New South Wales Waratahs in Super Rugby, and the North Harbour Rays provincial side. The Number Eight signed for Glasgow Warriors ahead of the 2021/22 United Rugby Championship season, and immediately caught the eye of Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend.

With a powerful first step, bruising carries and impressive handling skills, Dempsey is a complete number eight. Coincidentally, Dempsey made his Scotland debut in the 2022 Autumn Series, against his former nation of Australia. He has since gone on to be a prominent feature in the Scotland set up, and became a fan favourite throughout the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.