Monday 27 February 2017

Anthony Foley: We ran out of numbers and they had 14 men

Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Paddy Jackson kicks a conversion in the final minute to level the game.
Paddy Jackson kicks a conversion in the final minute to level the game.

Munster head coach Anthony Foley lamented his side's inability to see out victory over Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium but felt the officials were correct to send off flanker Iain Henderson.

Paddy Jackson’s touchline conversion earned 14-man Ulster a dramatic and deserved draw in the final moments of an enthralling derby which leaves Munster tied with Ospreys and Glasgow on 70 points.

Tries in the final minute of either half were crucial for Neil Doak's side, who travel to ulster in the final game of the season, but Foley was left to rue a missed opportunity for an away win.

"A few hiccups at the end of the first half and the second half cost us dear," he said after the match.

"It's important that we play the full 80. I thought there were stages in the game when we were in a good dominant position but unfortunately we didn't capitalise on that."

The head coach was far from pleased at the defensive efforts of his side for Stuart McCloskey's last-gasp try.

Ulster's Iain Henderson is shown a red card by referee Nigel Owens.
Ulster's Iain Henderson is shown a red card by referee Nigel Owens.

"We gave away a soft penalty, they got on front foot. We ran out of numbers and they had 14 men so it will be interesting to see where our bodies were."

A major talking point was the dismissal of Ireland flanker Henderson in the 73rd minute.

After several viewings, the match officials adjudged Henderson to have led with the head at the ruck when clearing Ronan O’Mahony out and referee Nigel Owens reached for the red card.

Foley admitted he didn’t get a good vantage point of the incident but felt the officials must have come to the correct decision.

"You have to be bound to enter a ruck with your shoulders," he said. "We couldn't see clearly where the contact was, but obviously it was clear enough for the TMO and touch judge.

"Nigel then had to make a decision based on what was presented to him.

Ulster coach Neil Doak indicated afterwards that they will appeal the decision.

Foley reflected that a draw was not a bad result given the venue and said all attentions will be now focused on the final match against the Dragons.

"I think I have come here on a number of years and got left home with nothing so two points will stand to us going into the knock-out stages.

"The Dragons have beaten Leinster home and away this year, they are a quality side. We'll prepare as we prepared this week and we will be fully focused on getting the result."

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