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foley grip

Evolution not revolution has brought about Munster's attacking improvement

The new head coach is determined to show how far his side have come when the Ospreys visit Thomond Park.

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Anthony Foley shrugged off the notion that Munster’s attack has been more expansive in the second half of the season.

Instead, the Limerick man feels it has simply become more cohesive as his methods have had time to take hold in players’ minds.

“It’s just been about getting across the change in the game,” Foley told The42 while suited and booted at last night’s Pro12 awards.

“Even in pre-season, you’re trying to marry getting fit with trying to be engaged in new ideas. Fellas still have stuff from last year fresh in their head.

“They still see things done the same way, but different: like last year, Rob [Penney] would have had four players outside the 10. This year we’d have bodies there, but they wouldn’t have the same functions around the pivot player.

“So it changes up: what we’re looking for on the short side or from ball-carriers has changed this year and has evolved over the year.

“I think we’ve gotten better as the year has gone on. We’ve stuck to what has worked for us. We’ve tried to impose our gameplan on the opposition and make sure we can kick on and try to win something.”

Foley’s men have lost just one of their last 10 fixtures in the Pro12, a run that has pushed them in to a home semi-final berth in the league’s knock-out stages. However, that game will pit them against the one team who have managed to defeat Munster in that period – Ospreys.

Indeed, the four-time champions have managed to do the double over Ireland’s southern province, but Foley insists that the early-season loss in Thomond park will have little bearing on either the game or his squad’s mindset. And the former number eight was keen to ignore the 100% winning record of home teams in Pro12 semi-finals.

“I’ve been around long enough to know history doesn’t matter. Sport to me doesn’t dwell well on what you’ve done in the past so it’s about what we can do to prepare properly for Ospreys.

“Make sure we’ve learned from our mistakes: we’ve lost to them twice, they’ve beaten us comprehensively in both games. It’s important we  we’ve learned from that and when we go in to the game we understand what it will take to beat them.”

- Reporting by Murray Kinsella

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