HE MAY HAVE downplayed the significance of a home semi-final during the week but Anthony Foley is all too aware of the advantage of playing in front of your own fans when it comes to knock-out rugby.
An eight try rout of Dragons on Saturday ensured Munster finished second in the Guinness Pro12 and secured a home semi-final against Ospreys at Thomond Park.
Munster lost both games against the Welsh side during the regular season but Foley admits form goes out the window when the stakes are so high.
“We’re hoping it will be a sell-out crowd at Thomond Park,” he said after watching his side beat Dragons 50-27. “That’s important because we’ve worked hard to get there but with that with need to kick-on and make sure it’s sold-out.
“They’ve [Ospreys] done us twice this year and it’s important we don’t over hype it and make sure we get the work done off the pitch.
“We’ve got to get a result and it doesn’t matter how the result comes but we have to win the game next Saturday.”
After falling behind to an early Jason Tovey penalty in Cork, Munster clicked into gear thereafter and needed just 24 minutes to seal the bonus point as Conor Murray scored a hat-trick of tries.
Although Ospreys won in Galway, they were unable to add a fifth point as Connacht staged a spirited fightback after the interval. That result meant Munster leapfrogged their semi-final opponents into second as the venue switched from the Liberty Stadium to Limerick.
“I’m delighted,” Foley continued. “To get our five points first and foremost and then for one of the other teams to slip-up, which didn’t look likely at half-time, was great.
“But to get a home semi-final was something we’ve looked at over the last couple of weeks as a priority and once we got in the top four we zoned in on it and fortunately we got it.
“We controlled the game, dictated the tempo and were able to rack up a score. The manner of it was pleasing. The boys stayed at the task for long periods of the game and whenever they threw something at us, we threw something back.”
Munster are hoping to win the Pro12 for the first time since 2011 and their quest for a fourth title comes to a head next Saturday when they face Ospreys at 2.30pm.
The other semi-final sees Glasgow host Ulster with the final to be staged at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium on 30 May.
Audio courtesy of Cork’s RedFM