Saturday 17 August 2019

Conor Murray backs Tyler Bleyendaal to step up for Munster and Ireland

Tyler Bleyendaal
Tyler Bleyendaal
Tyler Bleyendaal during Munster Rugby Squad Training. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Conor Murray has backed Tyler Bleyendaal to step up if Joey Carbery misses the Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens and believes the New Zealand-born out-half could yet play a role for Ireland.

The 28-year-old qualifies on residency and has been called up to training camps since qualifying in 2018. Injury has prevented him taking the next step and he is running out of chances to force his way in to the World Cup picture.

But after coming off the bench and guiding the province to victory over Edinburgh on Saturday, he is in the frame to start the semi-final if Carbery fails to recover from his hamstring issue. And Murray believes the Kiwi has what it takes.

"Joey's been incredible for us and he's a player who's grown an awful lot for us this year," Murray said.

"He was only 22 when he came down, a kid like, and he came down and I was really impressed with him.


"He just stamped his authority. In meetings he just started talking earlier and telling people what he wanted from them. He's kind of become a general...

"Tyler's more laid-back than Joey but his knowledge of the game is incredible and he brings this calmness.

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"Looking at him you wouldn't think he's playing in a quarter-final the way he steers the team around.

"Even jogging back after he nailed that conversion, he was just relaxed and that's the kind of effect Tyler has.

"He's struggled with injury and fitness for a while. To have him back fit, playing games and getting a run of form is brilliant for us.

"Because if we are without Joey it'd be a bit of a blow but I think Tyler is at that level where everyone is really comfortable with him coming in to the team and you could say the same for JJ (Hanrahan) who's played quite a bit of rugby this year too.

"He's definitely good enough (to play for Ireland). He was in camps and then the neck went at him again and he just slipped away. I've huge respect for Tyler."

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