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.