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Andrew Conway impresses on a 'good day' for Foley's Munster

The southern province’s head coach excused Ian Keatley’s four misses from the tee at Thomond Park.

Conway was superb on kick chase for Munster.
Conway was superb on kick chase for Munster.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MUNSTER COACH ANTHONY Foley had words of praise for right wing Andrew Conway following his side’s 14-3 victory over Saracens at Thomond Park last night.

The Dublin-born wide man was denied a try by television match official Eric Gauzins in the second half, while going close to dotting down on two other occasions.

It was with his work-rate on kick chase and around the pitch that Conway truly impressed, however, doggedly looking to retrieve the aerial bombs from Conor Murray and Ian Keatley that were so integral to Munster’s game plan.

A big hit and turnover assist on Kelly Brown midway through the first half stands out, but this was another rounded display from the 23-year-old, who is showing genuine growth in his game this season.

He’s been left out of the November Test series [with Ireland], and I think he wanted to prove a point,” said Foley post-match. “It would have been great for him to get that try early in the game when the ball hit the post, an opportunist moment.

“You run up there, and nine times out of ten the ball goes through the posts, but Andrew was unlucky there. He’s got an incredible work rate, he’s a great guy to work with and hopefully we’ll start talking about him in a bigger jersey soon.”

Ian Keatley reacts after kicking wide Ian Keatley was disappointed with his place-kicking. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I’m not sure why Andrew’s try [in the second half] wasn’t [allowed], or why the TMO went the wrong way. I was looking at it on my screen and was happy he got it down, but maybe I’m biased.”

Elsewhere, Ian Keatley had a tough day from the tee, missing four of his six shots, although he added a sharp drop goal. Foley was pleased by his out-half’s contributions in open play at Thomond Park, and pointed out that every number 10 has difficult place-kicking experiences.

I thought he managed the game pretty well, he managed to keep composed and make sure we put pressure on them,” said Foley.

“Look, he missed a few shots at goal, he’ll be more disappointed in that than I will be. I’ll be trying to make sure he understands it’s not the end of the world. I’ve played with a number of out-halves that have missed kicks – Ronan O’Gara, David Humphreys, these guys miss kicks at goal.

“Johnny Sexton misses kicks at goal; it’s part and parcel of the responsibility of the shots at goal. Some weeks they go over for you. He’ll go away and work hard and he’ll come back and he’ll learn from it.”

Paul O'Connell after the game Paul O'Connell with the Munster faithful at Thomond Park. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Overall, Foley was understandably content with his side’s performance, pointing to the training ground efforts of his squad over the last two weeks as a key contributing factor to their success.

After wins over Sale and Sarries, Munster will watch Clermont’s tie with Sale tomorrow afternoon from a strong position within the pool. Even a bonus-point win for the French side at Stade Marcel Michelin will leave them behind Munster, meaning this has been an excellent start to life in Pool 1.

We’re in a good position, but that’s all it is,” stressed Foley. “We’ve Clermont back-to-back in a few weeks time, but we’ve a lot of work to do between now and then.

“It’s on the back of 13 incredible days’ work, and the boys turned up to work every single day. To see a performance like that, their composure and control they had in the game, it was a good day.

“As a performance in Thomond Park in round two, I’ll take it. It’s something that we can build on and with this group of players, they’re growing in confidence.”

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Murray Kinsella

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