Saturday 24 March 2018

Bleyendaal finally set for Munster debut

Tyler Bleyendaal is due to make his long awaited Munster debut against Grenoble this Friday
Tyler Bleyendaal is due to make his long awaited Munster debut against Grenoble this Friday

Declan Rooney

Tyler Bleyendaal will make his long awaited Munster debut against Grenoble at Thomond Park on Friday.

The Kiwi has finally recovered from the neck injury that has plagued him since he signed for Munster over a year ago.

Anthony Foley's pre-season preparations have been boosted by the return of a handful of long-term injury absentees.

Irish internationals Robin Copeland (shoulder), Dave Foley (wrist) and Mike Sherry (shoulder) have all reported back to the Munster coach fully fit.

New signing Francis Saili has also linked up with the squad, but he is not expected to feature for another couple of weeks as he acclimatises to his new surroundings.

However, it's not all good news for Foley and, in a potential setback, Denis Hurley left training yesterday in a space boot after suffering a yet-to-be-diagnosed foot injury.

Munster are waiting on a work permit to come through for new second-row Mark Chisholm.

Foley said he's happy with his squad's preparations ahead of their first action of the new season.

"We are very mindful of a few things that happened last year in terms of fellas coming back to us pre-season," he added. "We are getting a lot of our bodies to a state of fitness that we can play games, not really having a big injury list. Hopefully that continues.

"We have a lot of guys who missed a lot of rugby last season.

"You know, we are fortunate we have three pre-season games this year so hopefully we get good game-time into all of them.

"As I said to the boys this morning, a lot of guys haven't played in six months and they'll be quite nervous against Grenoble.

"You'll definitely see Tyler on Friday night and I'm looking forward to seeing him in the red jersey and having a crack off Thomond Park."

This time last year Cian Bohane was in superb form for Munster in pre-season, but his season was ended early by a knee ligament injury suffered against London Irish.

Foley hopes to give Bohane, Gerhard van den Heever and Sherry a taste of first-team action in the coming weeks

"We'll hopefully see Gerhardt on Friday night. As for Mike, I'm probably going to look at a game further on," Foley added.

"Just with the length of time he's been out, I want to keep him in pre-season (training) an extra week or two but we'll definitely see him in pre-season (action)."

Irish Independent

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