Saturday 18 January 2020

Bleyendaal could be like a 'new signing' - Wallace

Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal during training in Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal during training in Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

As Rassie Erasmus moved swiftly to fill the breach vacated by injured centre Francis Saili by dipping into his erstwhile Stormers' roster, former Munster No 8 David Wallace believes that Tyler Bleyendaal's return could be like a new signing for the province.

The injury-jinxed former Canterbury out-half has played just four times for Munster as he prepares for his third season under as many head coaches but Wallace believes that the former Junior All Black could be a revelation if he can stay fit this term.

"He looks a brilliant player from what I have seen," says double Heineken Cup winner Wallace, admittedly on the basis of pre-season evidence from 12 months ago.

"He orchestrates things on the field and off it. Hopefully he can get a break and Munster can see the best from him. CJ Stander was sidelined for the first year of his career as well and you can see the impact that he has made since so who knows."

Munster seemed unwilling to delve into the transfer market to replace Saili but clearly Erasmus has been less than satisfied with the available utility options at hand and has plumped for Springbok centre Jaco Taute, a player who has suffered his own fair share of injury woes.

That his club, Western Province, declared they would not oppose the move may seem indicative yet the player does have pedigree, making his debut for the Boks in 2012 before securing his move from the Lions franchise to the Stormers.

As the financial gulf between Europe's three major leagues ever widens, the belated move by Munster to a permanent HQ in University of Limerick could provide them with an "extra 10 per cent" boost in performance levels, according to Wallace.

"The new headquarters will have a massive effect and I don't think they will realise how much more work they can get done by being in the same place," said Wallace.

"We never really thought it was madness and I suppose we took the positives out of it, we didn't like living in each other's pockets.

"From a preparatory point of view, it is probably not appropriate in these days of fine margins when you're competing against teams with large resources.

"Even just being able to talk to a guy beside you about a certain move could be a little thing that might lead to a try on a Saturday. It becomes second nature. You have to be organised. This could add ten per cent to a team's performance and that is a massive difference at this level, it could be the difference in getting out of a European group.

"It will be a big shot in the arm and with the new experts at the top too, there are so many gains to be made before the ball is kicked in the regular season. They will need every advantage going into Europe and they need every extra per cent they can find."

David Wallace was speaking at the launch of the Pieta 100 cycle at the Aviva Stadium supported by Aviva, which will take place in 10 venues on September 25.

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