Thursday 18 January 2018

'It's usually a big steak the night before'

Take 20: Jean Kleyn

Jean Kleyn walks out for training with CJ Stander, who is the hardest-working player he has seen on a pitch. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Jean Kleyn walks out for training with CJ Stander, who is the hardest-working player he has seen on a pitch. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

South Africa second-row Jean Kleyn is a big fan of cooking, particularly on the barbecue

1. Pre-match meal?

I would usually just have some chicken and mashed potatoes. I do most of my eating the night before the match and the morning of it too. It's usually a big steak the night before.

2. Favourite player growing up?

It will probably be a little bit of a cliché, but Bakkies Botha was my favourite player. He was ruthless in his physicality when he was on the pitch. My kind of player.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

That would have to be CJ Stander. We get along really well and he is a very considerate roommate, which is what you want.

4. Who would headline your houseparty?

Imagine Dragons or Kings of Leon. They always make the cut for my barbecue playlist.

5. First song they would play?

Imagine Dragons would play 'Thunder' and Kings of Leon would probably play 'Walls'.

6. You win the Lotto, what's the first thing you would buy?

Wow, so many things. How about an island maybe? When you see those Lotto adverts the winner always seems to buy an island.

7. Favourite movie?

'Shawshank Redemption', definitely. It is one of those classic movies that you can just watch over and over and you never get sick of it.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

There have been a few really good ones over the last few months on Netflix but 'True Detective' is an oldie but a goodie in my opinion.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

I was about eight years old when we played a match in the middle of winter at about 8am and the ground was frosted over. In South Africa you play rugby barefoot up until you are 14 years of age, so I just remember not being able to feel my feet as the game started.

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

I would say it is Duncan Casey. He is a very witty man.

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

Inhambane in Mozambique. When you take the scenery and ocean life into account it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

The Liberty Stadium. When I walked into the stadium for the first time last year I had to check whether it was a synthetic 4G pitch or normal grass. It was just in such good condition and it's great to play on.

13. Three people (dead or alive) who you would invite to your dinner party?

My three best mates from back home in South Africa, and the dinner would be on my mate's farm.

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

Winning the Currie Cup title in 2014 with Western Province at Newlands Stadium in South Africa is my most memorable moment in rugby.

Winning silverware is about as good as it gets in the sport I think.

15. Do you have any pre-match superstitions/rituals?

I wouldn't say I have any superstitions, just habits really. I always have a nap and then a cup of coffee before we depart the hotel to play the match.

16. Who is the best player you have played alongside and why?

CJ Stander has got to be up at the top. I have never seen a player work as hard on the pitch as him.

17. Who is the best player you have played against and why?

Leone Nakarawa. He is just an immense human being with a serious skill-set and hard to play against.

18. Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I am a big fan of cooking, I really enjoy it! Baking deserts or braaiing - barbecue as you call it in Ireland - are probably my two favourite things to do.

19. Name three things that are always in your fridge?

Milk, real butter and some form of red meat.

20. Best advice you ever got?

I can't really remember where I picked this bit of advice up but it's as good as any I've ever got; "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

Irish Independent

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