Munster’s Tyler Bleyendaal forced to retire on medical grounds

‘It has been very tough to be honest, to admit the fact that I’m retiring from rugby’

Munster have announced outhalf Tyler Bleyendaal is to retire from rugby on medical grounds.

29-year-old Bleyendaal last featured for the province in Novemver 2019, with a neck injury forcing him into a premature retirement.

Kiwi 10 Bleyendaal arrived at Thomond Park in January 2015, making his debut against Benetton Treviso in September of that year.

He went on to make 62 appearances during an injury-blighted spell with the province - although he was named Munster’s player of the year after a standout 2016-17 campaign.

On his early retirement, Bleyendaal said: “It has been very tough to be honest, to admit the fact that I’m retiring from rugby.

“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.

“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.”

Meanwhile Munster coach Johann van Graan said: “I saw Tyler for the first time playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby and he caught my eye immediately.

“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.”