Chris Farrell has leapt to the defence of Ireland’s project players in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Jean Kleyn made headlines around the world when he was selected for Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad in place of long-serving lock Devin Toner.
Kleyn became eligible to represent Ireland just two days before making his debut against Italy in their first warm-up game last month.
Despite many disagreeing with his selection, Farrell has defended his Munster teammate who he says has indoctrinated himself into the Irish way of life in the same way that Bundee Aki and CJ Stander did before him.
Speaking at a Vodafone event ahead of the World Cup, Farrell spoke of the impact that Stander and Aki have left on their respective provinces.
“Bundee and CJ, in particular, have done so much for not only Irish rugby but their provinces,” said Farrell.
“I’ve walked down the streets of Galway with Bundee and it’s chaos, he’s such a leader down there and has done so much for the province.
“CJ is no different in Munster, they’ve been here for a long, long time and their families have grown up here. CJ has had a baby girl here and they really have fitted in so well.
“They add so much to the team and Jean Kleyn will be no different, especially as he settles in for a longer period. I think it’s fantastic to have them.
“People from Ireland have a proud history of having the bravery to move around the world, we’ve been doing it for years and years.
“So maybe it that makes them a little more Irish for doing the same.”
Ireland get their campaign underway next Sunday morning when they face Scotland in their opening Pool A game.