Munster second row Jean Kleyn is enjoying playing alongside new signing Tadhg Beirne as the province have made an encouraging start to the 2018-19 season.  

While the signing of out-half Joey Carbery hogged most of the limelight in the summer, the arrival of another former Leinster Academy player has bolstered Munster's options in the tight five. 

The future didn't look especially promising for the Kildare-born Beirne after he was released by Leinster in 2015. Without a pro deal for the latter half of the 2015-16 season, he contemplated quitting the game. 

However, Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac, on the advice of former Wales and Leinster coach Mike Ruddock, decided to put in a phone call to Beirne and his career was dramatically revived. 

Beirne was a central figure in the Welsh region's 2016-17 Guinness Pro 12 victory and was nominated for European Player of the Year. After another stellar season last year, he transferred to Munster. 

It's early days for the second row pairing of Beirne and Jean Kleyn but things are looking bright. 

The South African told RTÉ Sport's Michael Corcoran he's enjoying playing alongside the new man in the forwards. 

"There's always an element of healthy competition among locks. I think he's an excellent player. He's got a massive engine. He works hard for 80 minutes which is brilliant to have from one of your second rows.  

"I enjoy playing with him. He's a good lineout option and he's an exceptionally hard worker both on the ball and off the ball."

Beirne on the rampage against Leinster at the weekend

It's over a decade now since Munster last triumphed in the European Cup with the second row partnership of Paul O'Connell and Donncha O'Callaghan. 

Their latest European campaign begins at Sandy Park against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday evening. The 2016-17 Premiership champions, with Dungannon born veteran Gareth Steenson at out-half, have made a superb start to the 2018-19 season, winning six from six in the Gallagher Premiership. 

However, Kleyn believes that Munster are fully briefed on what they're set to face at the weekend.  

"We played them at Irish Independent Park earlier in the year. We know what's coming. We've done our review. We haven't played them over there before. I think it's the first time we've played them in the European championship. So it's going to be unknown from the perspective. 

"But, like I've said, we've played them already. So, we're well prepped. 

"In the European Cup, every match is pretty much a playoff. Because if you miss one or two matches, you're out. So, we're going to look to go away and get the win and that's going to be the case for every European match this year." 

Kleyn, for his own part, pronounced himself ecstatic at having signed a new three year with Munster last week but didn't take the bait as regards a future international career with Ireland. 

"You can't fault Munster as a place. It's brilliant. I love it here. I'm ecstatic to have signed a three year deal. I couldn't be happier in Limerick. I'm enjoying my rugby, I'm enjoying the place, I'm enjoying the people."

Follow Exeter v Munster on Saturday via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app or listen to exclusive national commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 at 3.15pm with commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan.