Friday 26 May 2017

We have only ourselves to blame if we don't qualify – Foley

Conor George

Conor George

MUNSTER will know on Sunday afternoon if they have progressed or regressed as a team.

If it is the former, they will have a Heineken Cup quarter-final to look forward to and the probable added bonus of a returning Paul O'Connell to bolster their chances there.

If it is the latter, they will only have themselves to blame. The loss to Racing Metro in Paris in October and the overly elaborate approach against Saracens in Vicarage Road in December are the games defensive coach Anthony Foley believes will have cost them if they do come up short.

"Look at what Saracens tried to do to us; (they) went to two in the line-out and kicked the leather off it. Even their try came from a little dabble through," said Foley.

"The issue in that game for us was maybe we didn't just tuck it up a bit more and grind out the scores.

"We've been in a position to win all five games, which is hugely disappointing.

"There actually isn't a massive difference to how we're going from last year when we managed to get through the group stages unbeaten.

"If we win on Sunday and get a quarter-final, it will be looked upon as success, just as it was last year," added Foley (pictured).

There has been plenty of attention focused on the evol-ution in Munster's game under Rob Penney. and also a huge buy-in from the players and the coaching staff to Penney's vision.

The success, or otherwise, will be decided on Sunday and whether or not Munster are still involved in the Heineken Cup.

"Well, we'll find out Sunday, won't we? 'Working' is quarter-final in April. That's what we are all about. It's about success and taking this team forward," he said.

There has been a subtle softening in the tactics employed by Munster in recent weeks, as referenced by the players. The way they approach the game is still designed for width, but players do have the facility to adapt when the occasion demands it.

"It's still early stages in the development, but we are playing a variation of the game plan from before. We are playing more moves off the scrum-half and this is adding that variety to how we attack teams," he said.

That Metro cannot qualify from the Pool and won't travel at full strength will not, Foley insists, distract Munster from what they need to achieve in the game.

"We are preparing for their top side, we are preparing for the side that's going to come out one to 15.

"We are not worried about the names that are in it, because they are all quality in their squad. If you go through their squad, they are all quality players."

Irish Independent

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