Former Ireland lock reveals ‘animosity’ between Irish and Scots that will be ‘magnified’ in Pool B decider

Colin Newboult

Ireland taking on Scotland in the 2023 Six Nations.

Former Ireland lock – and now Springboks player – Jean Kleyn says that there is bad blood between the Irish and the Scots ahead of Saturday’s encounter.

Kleyn has plied his trade at Munster for the past few years and was part of the Ireland squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The second-row has switched back to his native South Africa under World Rugby’s new eligibility laws, but still has an excellent insight into this contest.

Knife in the back

“There’s a high level of attrition. There’s a little bit of animosity between the Irish and the Scots and there always has been, especially from a rugby perspective,” he told reporters.

“At club level, you look at teams like Munster and Glasgow there’s always been this underlying – I wouldn’t call it hatred – but there’s a little bit of knife in the back.

“There’s a real combative thing about it. For Ireland and Scotland (Tests), it’s even more so. It’s very much magnified at international level. Everything’s a little bit closer to the bone and everything’s a little bit more real. I think it’s going to be a serious match.”

Kleyn also gave his prediction for the World Cup match, which sees Ireland and Scotland battle for qualification.

South Africa could still be ousted but, more than likely, they will go through alongside one of the two teams that are going head-to-head this weekend.

“We’re probably going to see Ireland win, but just because the Irish beat us last week I’d say I’d like to see Scotland win over them,” the lock joked.

“No, realistically speaking, we’ll probably see Ireland come out victorious there. They’re a very good team at the moment.”

Stint with Ireland

Kleyn joined Munster in 2016 and qualified on residency in 2019, appearing on five occasions for the national team that year.

Although the second-row did not feature again for Ireland, it was still a proud time for the South African powerhouse.

“It was a great honour and a pleasure to play for Ireland in 2019. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” he added.

“It was something I will always hold with me. Now being offered this opportunity which, honestly I never thought would come along, especially after representing Ireland in 2019 – besides that point I didn’t ever picture myself as being good enough for some reason.

“It’s been one of the greatest honours of my life to now represent the Springboks after having represented Ireland as well.”

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