Tyler Bleyendaal set for Munster debut against Grenoble
New Zealand outhalf to make first start for the province in pre-season friendly this Friday
Tyler Bleyendaal will make his debut at Thomond Park on Friday after recovering from the neck injury that postponed the start of his Munster career. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Tyler Bleyendaal will make his long awaited Munster senior debut against Grenoble this Friday as 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 fully fit for Foley’s squad, while Kiwi back Bleyendaal will make his debut at Thomond Park on Friday after recovering from the neck injury that postponed the start of his Munster career, having been signed over a year ago.
New signing Francis Saili linked up with the squad this week, but is not expected to feature for another couple of weeks as he acclimatises to his new surroundings.
And in a potential setback, Denis Hurley left training on Monday in a space boot after he picked up a yet-to-be-diagnosed foot injury.
Munster are waiting on a work permit to come through for new second-row Mark Chisholm, but Foley says he’s happy with his squad’s preparations ahead of their first action of the season.
“We very mindful of a few things that happened last year in terms of fellas coming back to us pre-season wise, fit and making sure we have good numbers at training.
“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.
“There’s more than several: we’ve had a lot of guys that have 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 in Thomond Park 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 year was ended early by a knee ligament injury suffered against London Irish. Foley says he hopes to give him, Gerhard Van Den Heever and Sherry a taste of first team action again in the coming weeks
“We’ll hopefully see Gerhardt on Friday night and Mike (Sherry) I’m probably going to look at a game further on. Just with the length of time he’s been out; I want to keep him in pre-season an extra week or two and we’ll definitely see him in pre-season.”