Sunday 25 September 2016

Foley: Munster must take last chance in Paris

Published 09/01/2016 | 02:30

Anthony Foley: 'It’ll be two sides going at it hard, they’re the French champions and we need to respect that'. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile
Anthony Foley: 'It’ll be two sides going at it hard, they’re the French champions and we need to respect that'. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile

Munster coach Anthony Foley is not sugar-coating the win-or-bust nature of this evening's meeting with Stade Francais in Paris and he wants his players to respond to the high stakes.

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Back-to-back defeats to Leicester Tigers last month mean another loss would end the two-time European champions' interest in this season's Champions Cup with two rounds remaining, but victory in this re-fixture at the Stade Jean-Bouin would breathe fresh life into their campaign ahead of the French champions' visit to Limerick next weekend.

The Reds' chances were boosted by the team selections yesterday, with Foley recalling back-three Andrew Conway, Keith Earls and Simon Zebo and Ireland star Conor Murray to his backline, along with second-row Dave Foley. He has opted for the size and power of Robin Copeland on the blindside ahead of Jack O'Donoghue.

Stade, however, have named an understrength side for the game, keeping star tighthead Rabah Slimani, France out-half Jules Plisson and centre Jonathan Danty on the bench, while Pascal Papé and Will Genia are unavailable.

"We understand the maths of it and all that; we need to get our job done this weekend. It'll be two sides going at it hard, they're the French champions and we need to respect that," said Foley.

"It's fairly clear, we've made sure everyone knows that and it's about being properly prepared. The physical stuff is done for the vast majority of the week, it's about the mental side of things now and making sure we're in the right place."

Meanwhile, former Munster out-half JJ Hanrahan insists he made the move to Northampton to boost his chances of playing for Ireland, despite IRFU performance director David Nucifora stating that moving abroad puts players at a disadvantage to their Irish-based rivals.

"I can't worry about that," the Kerry native said.

"This move is about coming here, trying to get as much experience as I can, trying to get better, and trying to get to that international level. And when you get in there, to stay in there."

Irish Independent

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