Horses for Courses

'If we have these conditions next week, I wouldn't change a thing' - Anthony Foley

The Munster coach wants improvement, but knows the difficulty of playing in the howling wind and rain.

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Anthony Foley was happy with the mission his team accomplished in the torrid conditions of Thomond Park last night.

Anthony Foley Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The southern province scored three second half tries to secure a bonus point win over Treviso, despite the match being influenced by strong wind and rain that created a fractured contest with 19 scrums.

Next weekend, Munster will face much tougher opponents than the Pro12′s bottom side as they come up against Top14 champions Stade Francais in what is sure to be an emotional afternoon in Paris.


However, Foley was not concerned by a performance that took 75 minutes to claim a fourth try. On the contrary, if Limerick’s weather were to move to the City of Lights, he would set his stall out exactly same way.

“I’m happy with the way we played,” the head coach said to sum up, “if we had these conditions next week, I wouldn’t change a thing.

“If we can play the ball a bit more, we’d like to do that and take away some of the looseness around the passes, but that’s more conditional than skill level.

CJ Stander celebrates at the final whistle CJ Stander was to the fore for Munster again last night. Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“We trained in these conditions in Cork on Thursday, it was horizontal down there. It was hard, but even in that session we kept our errors down and we kept them relatively low today and capitalised on theirs.”

Perhaps it was because there was enough gloom caused by the water swirling around Thomond Park that Foley elected to accentuate the positives post-match. Positives that included a 4 – 13 penalty count and individual attitudes on top of the bonus point try.

I thought it’s the best we played in those conditions. The way we controlled first-half possession (69%), where we played the game (80% territory). It was seldom they got into our 22 and I thought it was well-marshaled by 9 and 10.

“Obviously there  was a hefty workload for the forward pack in the first half in terms of keeping the ball and trying to move it up the pitch through the maul and by coming round the corner, running hard off 9.

“To be honest, it was easier to handle the ball in the first half. Because when you play into the wind the ball will come back to you. Second half it became a bit difficult to play (with the wind at players’ backs), you have to get a bit narrower and a bit deeper because the ball will blow away from you.

“To get four tries, and come away with five points, there were only four penalties we gave away in 80 minutes and the last two were on set piece. It was an impressive display by the players, they showed a good attitude, good work-rate and a willingness to put their shoulder to the wheel and that’s great to see.”

More of the same next week? Nobody at Munster would turn down another win.

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