Ronan O'Gara: Have we seen the last of 'coach-in-waiting' Tyler Bleyendaal at Munster?

Ronan O'Gara: Have we seen the last of 'coach-in-waiting' Tyler Bleyendaal at Munster?
Tyler Bleyendaal and Munster head coach Johann van Graan during Munster Rugby Squad Training at UL in April 2019. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Have we seen the last of talented Tyler Bleyendaal in Munster? Perhaps not.

The persistent neck problems that stymied his progress at number ten with the province might have ended his playing days at 29, but around the game, he is acknowledged as a coach-in-waiting with a shrewd rugby brain.

Is he the fifth and final part of the Munster coaching jigsaw? Maybe it’s a bit early for that, and in the Munster statement Wednesday, Johann van Graan seemed to buy that idea some time by indicating that Tyler "has a bright future if he moves into coaching".

His enforced retirement may not have been entirely surprising to anyone who understands how vulnerable the neck area is for a rugby player, but it nonetheless robs him of his peak years as an out-half. Tens tend to mature to a point where experience and a physical peak coincide to create the ideal environment to prosper. From 30 to 33, he would have had the capacity to be a brilliant ten but a rugby player understands better than almost anyone that neck injuries are not to be gambled with. The fear of a long-lasting injury or worse, paralysis, is something that will cool the courage of even the bravest soul.

That Tyler has suspected this day was coming at least means he has been able to look beyond the field of play. Maybe he already has coaching offers, or maybe he might decide to take a year out before deciding on his next career move. He is going to be around Limerick for the time being. One wonders will someone seek to extend that stay.

I know from my time in New Zealand that there remains a huge regard for him as a player, a person, and a rugby strategist. In little pockets, you could see his game intelligence with Munster, and by the finish of the 2017 season, he looked primed to make that ten jersey his own. However, the opportunity to enjoy his development became rarer from 2018 on when he was unable to string enough games together for him to find a rhythm.

More on this topic

Munster Rugby not at any more of a financial disadvantage than other provincesMunster Rugby not at any more of a financial disadvantage than other provinces

Munster fans showing support by waiving right to a refundMunster fans showing support by waiving right to a refund

Diarmuid Barron promoted to Munster senior squad as Jack Crowley joins academyDiarmuid Barron promoted to Munster senior squad as Jack Crowley joins academy

The day Peter Stringer pulled a fast one as Munster finally got over the lineThe day Peter Stringer pulled a fast one as Munster finally got over the line


More in this Section

Anthony Joshua wears ‘precautionary’ knee brace at Black Lives Matter marchAnthony Joshua wears ‘precautionary’ knee brace at Black Lives Matter march

Coronavirus wrap: Matchday protocols emerge while Djokovic casts US Open doubtsCoronavirus wrap: Matchday protocols emerge while Djokovic casts US Open doubts

Bayern Munich continue march to Bundesliga title with comeback win at LeverkusenBayern Munich continue march to Bundesliga title with comeback win at Leverkusen

Silverstone boss hopes ‘top of the bill’ F1 double-header can attract new fansSilverstone boss hopes ‘top of the bill’ F1 double-header can attract new fans

More by this author

Ronan O'Gara: An ambitious dressing room shouldn’t be confused with a confession boxRonan O'Gara: An ambitious dressing room shouldn’t be confused with a confession box

Ronan O'Gara: The golden qualities of a proper leader and captainRonan O'Gara: The golden qualities of a proper leader and captain

Ronan O'Gara: Caught between the uncertainty of the present and the risks of the futureRonan O'Gara: Caught between the uncertainty of the present and the risks of the future

Ronan O’Gara: Wanting things too badly isn’t always so cleverRonan O’Gara: Wanting things too badly isn’t always so clever


Lifestyle

Throw all the veg you’ve got into this easy dish.Jack Monroe’s recalibration supper recipe

In a time when our shopping and cooking needs to be efficient and easy, we are bringing back our One List, Five Meals recipe pages.Michelle Darmody's One list, Five meals

What is the future of fashion and how will the ‘high street’ look when this is all over? Corina Gaffey asks those in the knowThe future of fashion: How the crisis will impact the retail industry and what we wear

Surveying the global market, Des O’Sullivan says when the going gets tough, the tough get goingHow art world is putting changed times in picture

More From The Irish Examiner