If we think about tradition, the great bellows were set up so that the tapered tuyere nose came in from the side. I'm not sure how it was protected from burning away. If not water cooled, it may have been surrounded by fire clay, but it WAS a side blast.
http://www.turleyforge.com Granddaddy of Blacksmith Schools
The tapered tuyere nose on the bellows in fact was not the tuyere as we know it, it was a funnel that directed the air into the actual tuyere in the hearth.
This hearth based tuyere nose could be clay, brick, old cannonball with a hole bored through, or even a cast iron solid or water cooled with or without the shroud plate.