'It'll be hard to sleep tonight' - Munster's Foley hurt by Edinburgh loss

A failure to win the collisions stung the province’s new head coach.

Foley began life as Munster's head coach with a 14-13 defeat.
Foley began life as Munster's head coach with a 14-13 defeat.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER’S ANTHONY FOLEY pointed to his side’s loss of the collisions as the key reason for defeat to Edinburgh in his first competitive match as head coach of the province.

Alan Solomons’ charges were physically superb throughout, with Munster looking underpowered in comparison. While Foley insisted his squad will react to this setback by learning, he admitted to utter disappointment at the performance.

“This will hurt,” said Foley in Thomond Park. “It’ll be hard to sleep tonight. It’s not a nice feeling losing. Have I won every game I’ve been involved in? No. Have I learned from them?

You learn more from your defeats that you do from your wins at times. It’s about us now making sure that that performance is our low ebb of the year.”

Foley explained that Munster’s preparation this week had been encouraging, whatever about perceived distractions caused by the email leak of management reports to the entire squad.

“We trained really well, that’s something we spoke about going into London Irish and Gloucester. No matter what we do Monday to Friday, nobody knows about that. We get judged on the 80 minutes and it is pretty disappointing to put in 10 weeks of excellent work and end up showing that today.”

Everything poor in Munster’s display stemmed back to a lack of physicality in Foley’s opinion, as he lamented the lack of protection for scrum-half Duncan Williams around the fringes of the ruck.

Shane Buckley tackled by Hamish Watson Shane Buckley delivered an excellent performance at No.8. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“They won the battle. We were too high, they were low, they cut us. They won the space over the ball. To be honest, it was more on our ball than on their ball. We were way too high going into the contact, they were choking us, poaching us, getting penalties.

“Our ball turned slow and we didn’t protect our scrum-half. When we did, we saw what Duncan can do. When we didn’t, they were pulling, dragging and jumping on him. We needed to be better around the breakdown area. That to me is physicality and we didn’t stand up there.”

Foley pointed to the performances of CJ Stander, Shane Buckley and replacement centre Ivan Dineen as some of the positives he will carry into next weekend’s visit to Treviso, and outlined that Munster were close to pulling out a win despite their lack of quality on the night.

Keats [Ian Keatley] ended up with one from four [off the tee]. One kick that we turned down, we went to the corner and that was reversed – they had two men in the sin bin at the time. That was a big turning point.

“Look, in this job you understand that there are three possible outcomes. You’d like to start with a win, but if we learn from it, get better next week and bounce back, we’ll take it. If it makes us very clear about what is required to win at home, lessons will be learned. We need to be better going to Italy.”

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Murray Kinsella

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