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Foley: 'When I was growing up, my playground was Thomond Park'

The former Munster back row has outlined that his ‘understanding’ of the province will be an advantage as head coach.

Foley faces the media at this afternoon's announcement in UL.
Foley faces the media at this afternoon's announcement in UL.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

DESPITE RECEIVING OVER 20 applications for the position of head coach next season, there was only ever one choice for the powers that be at Munster.

Anthony Foley has put pen to paper on the contract that secures him his self-professed dream job at the province where he made himself a legend during his playing days. The two-year deal, with an option of a third, provides the Killaloe man with his first head coaching position.

The fact that it comes at his home province is ideal, and when asked whether the role will consume his every thought next season, Foley replied that that is already the case.

“I think as a Munster man, it does anyway. It’s all part of being brought up in rugby. When I was growing up, my playground was Thomond Park. That’s where, every weekend, I was.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I was in there around training, so for me that’s what I know. Being asked to be head coach here is special. It was always special when I was asked to be captain here, when I got my first cap here, playing underage here.

“To get to this point, I feel lucky and I’m going to grasp it with both hands and really go after it.”

Foley stressed that everyone at Munster remains behind Rob Penney 100% for the remainder of the current campaign, focused on ending the Kiwi’s reign with silverware. Beyond that point, Foley believes that his intimate knowledge of the province will be an advantage when he succeeds Penney.

Source: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

“I think I understand where we are. I understand the continuity that’s needed from within and the staff that I need to bring in to try and strengthen where we are. I understand the dual location, the double centres, I know the pitfalls there.

“I know all the staff at this stage, and the majority of the playing staff. I’m in a knowledgeable place about where we are.”

Backroom options

Claiming that today’s announcement felt “surreal,” Foley refused to be drawn on the possible make-up of his backroom staff next season. The 40-year-old felt it wouldn’t have been “appropriate” to discuss such matters before anything more concrete was in place.

However, the former number eight did underline that he will be looking for coaches who can push Munster to the next level in the coming seasons.

I think you look within. Then you look outside, to see what’s best. You make sure that the players are challenged within this group. You look at the players we have; a lot of top internationals, a lot of former captains, current captains.

“They need driving as well, and they get driven by the best coaches.”

Audio courtesy of Limerick’s Live95FM.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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