MUNSTER'S New Zealand-born out-half Tyler Bleyendaal is excited by the prospect of pitting his wite against the Maori All-Blacks at a sold-out Thomond Park this Friday, 7.30pm.
Munster will hope to take inspiration from Ireland's historic victory over the All-Blacks in Chicago last weekend when the province hosts the Moaoris in their glamour friendly in Limerick.
Bleyendaal, who has put an injury ravaged few seasons behind him to emerge as a key figure in the Munster back-line, is looking forward to Friday night's challenge.
Bleyendaal said: “Yeah, it's an exciting week. I’ve played against a lot of these guys and know a lot personally and the whole squad here is excited to be involved.
“ I went to Christchurch Boys High Schools with Ash Dixon, their captain. He is very skilful and a great all-rounder, has played for New Zealand A, is a good leader and is selected as captain to lead from the front.
“If you look at their performance against the USA on Friday night, they’re a very dangerous team with attacking threats across the board. So we will have to be on our game and are excited at the challenge.”
When the All-Blacks played Munster at the official opening of the redeveloped Thomond Park in 2008, Munster's Kiwi contingent did their own version of the Haka. Bleyendaal says it has not been decided yet how the province's New Zealanders will respond to the Maori haka.
Bleyendaal said: “We haven’t discussed it, but a lot of the Irish guys like to put in a dig that I might be out there in the front but I’m not sure yet.
“I remember that game (2008) on TV and it was impressive, seeing those boys out there in front and the crowd getting right behind them.
“ We’re just excited to have a sell-out crowd again after one a few weeks ago at Thomond Park and another in Cork at the week-end and now another opportunity on Friday.
“It’s not just us New Zealanders who are excited, the challenge for everyone in this team is that we want to win and perform well. To do it in front of a packed Thomond Park is going to be great.”
Meanwhile, Munster have recruited the services of Ulster's Angus Lloyd and Bay of Plenty half-back Te Aihe Toma as injury cover on short-term loans. Both players joined the squad in Limerick on Monday.
Dublin-native Lloyd has made one PRO12 appearance for Ulster, while Te Aihe Toma played three times for the Higlanders in the 2016 Super Rugby season. Short-term signing, prop Thomas du Toit, has also linked up with the Munster squad.