Gifted Munster and New Zealand playmaker is forced to retire 

Gifted Munster and New Zealand playmaker is forced to retire 
Tyler Bleyendaal and Peter O’Mahony of Munster leave the pitch after the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final loss in 2017. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

THERE has been plenty of positive news about new arrivals to Munster in the past week, but that has been nullified with the announcement Tyler Bleyendaal has been forced to retire.

The 29-year-old New Zealander has had to make the decision on medical grounds due to a neck injury.

"It has been very tough to be honest, to admit the fact that I’m retiring from rugby," the out-half, who turns 30 later this month, told Munster Rugby fans.

“But the decision is out of my hands now, it’s a medical decision, and it’s the right decision. It doesn’t make it any easier because rugby is a massive part of my life, but I do know that I gave it absolutely everything.

“It’s the reason Laura and myself moved over to Ireland, literally the other side of the world, and I know I’ve been privileged to play for 10 years in professional rugby and I’m very grateful for all the experiences that I’ve had, the friendships, and the relationships that I’ve made over my time.

“It has to end at some point and unfortunately it wasn’t on my terms but I’ve had the ability over lockdown to plan for the future and spend a lot of time with my family at home so there has been some pros to the timing.

“The cons are that I’m away from my teammates, and the guys that I’ve spent a lot of time with. I definitely miss those guys and the in-person relationships but at the same time there’s a lot to look forward to. 

"It might just require a bit of patience until we find out what that is, and when it can happen.” 

Tyler Bleyendaal in action against Stuart McInally and Bill Mata of Edinburgh. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Tyler Bleyendaal in action against Stuart McInally and Bill Mata of Edinburgh. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The number 10 signed for the province in 2015 but has had a torrid time with injuries which meant he only played for the province 62 times in total.

Even with those limited appearances he did enough during the 2016/17 season to be nominated as European Player of the year and his skill and game reading was always appreciated by the Munster faithful.

He was a player that was highly regarded by current head coach Johann van Graan who gave the player as much time as necessary to recover from this current neck injury, he second such serious injury in the last five years.

"It was an absolute privilege to not only coach him but to learn more about him and discover what a fantastic rugby player and man he is. He has played a huge role for Munster Rugby, not only on the field but also off the field, and he will be sorely missed,” said van Graan of his departing playmaker.

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