Neck injury forces Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal into retirement

Tyler Bleyendaal played for Munster between 2015 and 2020
Tyler Bleyendaal played for Munster between 2015 and 2020

Former New Zealand Under 20 international Tyler Bleyendaal has confirmed his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect after failing to recover from a neck injury.

Bleyendaal started his professional rugby career with Canterbury in 2011 with his Super Rugby debut coming a year later for Crusaders. He moved to Munster in 2015 and in the the 2016/17 season he was instrumental for the Irish province where he played 27 times helping them reach the semi-finals of Pro12 and Champions Cup.

The 29-year-old fly-half, who captained New Zealand Under-20 to victory in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship also captained Munster on 11 occasions but has been on the sidelines since November last year when he suffered the injury and now has been advised to quit his playing career.

“It has been very tough to be honest, to admit the fact that I’m retiring from rugby," he told in a statement released by Munster.

“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.”

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