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Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal has retired from professional rugby

The 29-year-old has been struggling with a neck injury.

MUNSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that out-half Tyler Bleyendaal has retired from professional rugby due to a neck injury.

The 29-year-old had been sidelined since last November and has now decided to hang up his boots based on medical advice.

Former New Zealand U20 captain Bleyendaal joined Munster from the Crusaders early in 2015, with his move to Ireland having been delayed by a serious neck injury.

tyler-bleyendaal-dejected Bleyendaal has retired due to injury. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Kiwi finally made his senior Munster debut in September 2015 but played only five times in the ’15/16 season due to a quad injury.

He returned to fitness and proved to be a key man in the 2016/17 campaign, however, helping Munster into the Champions Cup and Pro12 semi-finals as he racked up 27 appearances in all competitions over the course of the campaign.

Bleyendaal was involved in an Ireland training camp under Joe Schmidt in 2017 as he moved towards becoming eligible under the old three-year residency rule.

But the past two seasons have been injury-blighted for Bleyendaal with his neck causing issues on several occasions. Having featured just seven times in the 2019/20 campaign, the playmaker has now been forced to call time on his playing career.

“It has been very tough, to be honest, to admit the fact that I’m retiring from rugby,” said Bleyendaal.

“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.

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tyler-bleyendaal-on-his-way-to-scoring-a-try-22102016 Bleyendaal scored a stunning try against Glasgow in 2016 on the day after Anthony Foley's funeral. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“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.

“I want to thank the Munster supporters, they have been absolutely fantastic, and they are a massive reason why myself, and the whole team, love playing in front of our home crowd and our away supporters as well.

“It still amazes me the support we get at any location around the world, and I want to thank everyone for their support, the personal messages, and the support of the team.

“My wife Laura and I have been set up here in Limerick for over five years, we’ve a son, Bodhi, who just turned two, and we’ve another one on the way in a few months. We plan on being around for the coming period and once rugby resumes, I’d love to be around to go watch a game as a spectator and say my goodbyes in person.”

Bleyendaal is said to possess major rugby intellect and has already dipped his toe into coaching with AIL club Garryowen.

Munster boss Johann van Graan paid tribute to the retiring out-half.

“I saw Tyler for the first time playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby and he caught my eye immediately,” said van Graan.

“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.

“It was a pleasure to coach him, and I believe he has a very bright future ahead, and will do very well if he moves into coaching. I wish Tyler, Laura, Bodhi and their growing family the very best in life.”

Originally published at 13.58

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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