'Third neck injury the end of this journey': Bleyendaal issues poignant farewell message
Recently retired Munster out-half Tyler Bleyendaal has said that his decision to quit the game was made easier when considering his priorities in life. The 29-year-old was forced to retire on Wednesday on medical grounds after sustaining a neck injury in November last year.
Having already had neck surgery in 2015 and 2018, the No10 revealed in an Instagram post that a third time was too much. This is what he said:
“The decision to retire was made easier once I considered what was most important, that being my family and my long term health. I battled a good bit of adversity, like most athletes do, overcoming two neck surgeries and giving everything to being the best player and team-mate I could be, but a third neck injury would be the end of this journey!”
In a candid post, Bleyendaal continued that he leaves the game with “no regrets”, having played for “two world-class organisations”.
The ex-New Zealand under-20s player joined the province from the Crusaders in January 2015, but would have to wait for his debut having arrived with a neck injury. He made his first of 62 appearances against Benetton in September that year and went on to captain the side on eleven occasions, scoring five tries and kicking 352 points. He shared photos of his time with both sides in his post on social media.
Bleyendaal extended his gratitude to his “family, friends, team-mates, coaching staff, medical and S&C”, as well as the fans throughout his career in “two rugby-loving provinces”.
Looking to the future, the Kiwi expressed his desire to move into a coaching capacity. He said: “I would love to stay involved in rugby and enter the coaching scene when I find an opportunity that suits.”
Finally, Bleyendaal discussed the circumstances that have seen him retire, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is “sad not to be able to share this moment in person with my team-mates and friends”. While he finds himself in a position that many others have found themselves in, he still said he has “so much to be grateful for”.
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