Munster lock Jean Kleyn (R) tackles Toulouse scrum-half Antoine Dupont during a 2023 Champions Cup match. / © AFP
Munster lock Jean Kleyn will be included in the South Africa squad for the Rugby Championship next month if an application for a change of national team status succeeds.
The 29-year-old was born in South Africa, but qualified for Ireland through residency, made five Test appearances and was part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad.
A South Africa Rugby statement on Saturday said Kleyn will become the 41st member of the Championship squad if an application based on his birth place succeeds.
Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has been able to include previously club-tied stars based in England and France for the first time for a training camp that begins in Pretoria on Monday.
Captain Siya Kolisi, lock Eben Etzebeth, prop Thomas du Toit and scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse were all chosen despite being sidelined by injuries.
Kolisi has been ruled out of the Rugby Championship as he recovers from a serious knee injury, but coach Jacques Nienaber believes he will be fit for the World Cup defence in September.
"Do we think he (Kolisi) will be ready for the World Cup? Yes, we do," Nienaber told a recent press briefing in Cape Town.
Apart from Kleyn, the biggest surprise was a recall for long-ignored loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez, who was part of the Sale Sharks team beaten by Saracens in the English Premiership final.
- Steyn excluded -
Du Preez and France-based props Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch will not be available for the start of the camp due to personal and club commitments.
Injury-plagued utility back Francois Steyn -- a key figure in the 2019 World Cup triumph in Japan -- was not included and his chances of becoming a champion a third time are waning.
Equally adept when operating at full-back, centre or fly-half and a brilliant long-range goal-kicker, Steyn was a pivotal figure in what became known as the World Cup 'bomb squad'.
Instead of a traditional five forwards/three backs bench in Japan, then coach Rassie Erasmus chose six forwards, Steyn to cover the backline, and a specialist scrum-half.
This meant the Springboks could change six of the eight forwards, usually early in the second half, giving fresh impetus to their performances.
South Africa begin a six-match countdown to the World Cup with Championship matches against Australia (July 8), New Zealand (July 15) and Argentina (July 29).
Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Joseph Dweba, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Evan Roos, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese, Jean-Luc du Preez, Deon Fourie, Franco Mostert
Note: Jean Kleyn will be included if eligibility application successful
Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams, Manie Libbok, Handre Pollard, Damian Willemse, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie