Ronan O’Mahony is delighted to report there is life after injury for Tyler Bleyendaal.
The Munster winger believes Bleyendaal can finally put to rest his injury problems and make the impact expected following his move from New Zealand in 2014.
The former “Baby” All Black captain (U20) who led his side to a World Cup win in 2010 has been plagued with problems since his arrival on a three-year contract.
He signed in November 2014 but didn’t arrive until January the following year and he had to wait to make his full debut until September 2015.
But if Munster supporters are understandably uneasy about how big a role Bleyendaal can play in the future of the squad, O’Mahony is in little doubt. “Look, he’s been struggling for the last two years but it is great to see him back. I wouldn’t wish injury on anyone because I’ve been there myself and it’s not a nice thing. Mentally when you are coming back into the game like that and you are out for so long, it does take its toll on you.”
O’Mahony was speaking in the aftermath of a decent win over Worcester Warriors — Donncha O’Callaghan’s new side — at Musgrave Park on Friday night. He grabbed one of the seven tries himself but reserved his praise for Bleyendaal and others.
“It has been tough for him,” said O’Mahony, “but he was always hugely knowledgeable about the game. It was great to see him perform like that. It was also great to see Keats (Ian Keatley) coming off the bench and making such an impact as well with an intercept try, and he really controlled the game. To have guys like that is great for us.
“But look, he (Bleeydaal) is unbelievably strong willed. Even when he was injured he was in and around the squad. Playing 10 for Munster you have to be very skillful, and Ian and Tyler both have that. We are fortunate. Johnny Holland is injured at the moment, but he is a fella that brings another dimension. We are pleased with what’s there, and other lads can cover positions as long as lads stay fit.”
Under a new coaching director Rassie Erasmus, there are new demands on Munster players and O’Mahony accepted it hasn’t been a free run.
“Ten weeks of pre-season is not easy I can tell you that. I remember everyone coming in day one and we were like: ‘oh my God, holidays are over, back to the grind’. But you come around to it pretty quickly.
“I think just looking after ourselves, everyone looking after their body, our training environment is a bit different as well, it’s very intense and then when we get our rest and recover hard we just keep building towards the game. But, look, we are pretty pleased with it so far and we’ll keep building for next week.”
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