Dave Foley and BJ Botha show their disappointment at Thomond Park last night. Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Foley feels fine margins cost Munster in home defeat to Ospreys

The southern province’s head coach was annoyed that his side played the game in the wrong areas of the field.

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Anthony Foley feels his side’s defeat to the Ospreys at Thomond Park last night came down to the fine margins of top-level rugby.

A second defeat in three home fixtures left Munster fans, coaches and players frustrated, and the province dropped to sixth in the Guinness Pro12 table as a result of the loss. Despite wins over Treviso and Zebre, there is a negative feel to the province’s season so far.

“Small margins, isn’t it?” said Foley when asked what the difference between winning and losing had been. “Giving up a couple of soft penalties in the second half, one for being in front of the kicker, one at the scrum when they had seven men in it.

“It’s kind of hard to fathom and then we get to the end of the game and you’re thinking, ‘hold onto the ball, create more pressure and you’ll eventually score.’ Unfortunately, we managed to turn it over and give them a scrum.

It’s small margins when you play the teams at the top of the table. You lose by small little areas of the game and I thought, at times, we played too much rugby in our own half. We need to get out of that habit and try to put pressure on the opposition, which I think we didn’t do in the second half.”

The latter point is one Foley repeated again, demonstrating his annoyance at Munster’s inability to play rugby in areas of the field that perhaps involved less risk.

How can an aspect of the game like that be improved upon in a short space of time?

Anthony Foley Foley pictured at Thomond Park before kick-off yesterday. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“I think you keep identifying it, keep getting across the point and showing them [the players],” said Foley at Thomond Park.

“The players recognise it anyway. We’re dealing with a very intelligent bunch of players. We just need to identify that and show them the benefits of not staying in your own half of the pitch.”

Foley paid tribute to the “excellent” Ospreys for their part in condemning Munster to defeat, highlighting the game management of Dan Biggar and man of the match Rhys Webb as particularly important.

Losing at Thomond Park is “not something that we want to do,” underlined Foley before agreeing that an interprovincial clash against Leinster in the Aviva next weekend is exactly the motivation his side need to help them bounce back.

“I think so. We’re three weeks away from European Champions Cup, we’re trying to build up a head of steam. Tonight is not what we were looking for, in terms of the result.”

Frustrated Conor Murray says Munster ‘need to come right quite quickly’

Munster slip to second Thomond Park defeat after Ospreys boss breakdown

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