Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bleyendaal eager to repay Munster's faith as Monahan signs on

John Fallon

Published 13/08/2015 | 02:30

7 April 2015; Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal in action during squad training. Munster Rugby Squad Training. CIT, Bishopstown, Cork. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
7 April 2015; Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal in action during squad training. Munster Rugby Squad Training. CIT, Bishopstown, Cork. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Tyler Bleyendaal wants to start repaying Munster's faith in him when he finally makes his debut for Anthony Foley's side against Grenoble at Thomond Park tomorrow.

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Bleyendaal's move from New Zealand was thrown into doubt when he ruptured a disc in his neck last September, but after proving his fitness to the Munster medics Bleyendaal made the move to Limerick in January to complete his recuperation.

And the former New Zealand U-20 fly-half says he is thankful to his new employers for sticking with him and giving him the time to get back to full fitness.

"Munster were great. The injury was an issue obviously, not being fit before you turn up, but they were great to me," said the 25-year-old Cantabrian.

"I had a cervical disc blow-out, so I had it replaced. It is feeling strong now. One important thing was time for it to recover, just for the bone to grow, obviously strengthening the neck around it. It has all gone well.

"They had faith and I joined the medical team over here and we have rehabbed it well. With a bit of luck I can contribute to this season now.

"I came mid-winter. I trained for a few months at the end of last season. I have done a lot of training. But as rugby players we like to play. That is our reward for working hard and I haven't had that yet, so I am excited."

Despite signing up to a three-year deal with Munster, Bleyendaal is by no means ruling out a future with the All Blacks. He has already made 20 Super Rugby appearances and featured alongside current New Zealand No. 10, Dan Carter, for Crusaders.

However, in three years' time he would also be eligible to play for Ireland via the residency rule.

"I have all options available to me still. Opportunities awaited, I had never been to Europe. It was a good chance to see a different part of the world," he said.

"Munster as a club has a lot of history. They are very successful. It is a great opportunity. I am hoping I can get some opportunity here myself and contribute to the team."

Munster will likely have to plan without four of their first-choice backs in the coming weeks because of World Cup duty and Bleyendaal is fully aware that presents him with a chance to shine.

"There is an opportunity to impress," he said. "We need the whole squad. Guys are going to get opportunities and you have to make the most of them."

Meanwhile, Foley has recruited former Gloucester winger Shane Monahan on a three-month deal to add to his options during the World Cup. The Meath native left the English club at the end of last season.

Irish Independent

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