Tuesday 27 September 2016

Foley confident in Scannell's ability as the pressure rises down south

Published 29/12/2015 | 02:30

Munster's head coach Anthony Foley. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Munster's head coach Anthony Foley. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Anthony Foley cut a dejected figure as he attempted to salvage a scrap of positivity from a fifth consecutive defeat and a third at home.

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These are testing times for Munster and given their difficult run of fixtures, the problems may get worse before they get better.

Foley made the big decision to drop Ian Keatley from his match-day squad and although on the face of it it looked like the correct decision, his replacement Tyler Bleyendaal looked far from fit.

That the Kiwi passed the kicking duties over to Rory Scannell suggested that his niggly quad injury has not yet fully cleared. Given Bleyendaal's apparent struggles, the timing of Foley's decision was all the more interesting.

Scannell was a late inclusion in place of Denis Hurley and the 22-year-old impressed enough to be singled out for praise.

"Rory has come through the Academy and through the Irish underage system as well and he is a talented player and is aggressive and abrasive as well and can also play with the ball in his hand," Foley said.

Confident

"Obviously Keats; we need to look after him and that's the best way for us that Tyler could play but not kicking at goal.

"Obviously there is a functional thing there but we felt confident in Rory, I think he's done a very good job throughout his career as a place kicker.

"He was unfortunate with the one (missed kick) in the first half but that happens so it was a bit difficult but I thought they managed the game pretty well in the first half.

"But the second half and particularly early on in the second half he put in one beautiful diagonal kick down the pitch and I thought we're in the right frame of mind because it was difficult to move up the pitch."

For all of Foley's attempts at accentuating the positives, like he has done all season, he didn't shirk the major issues that are at hand.

Foley is expected to sign a one-year contract extension with Munster but he is fully aware of the increasing pressure that is coming on his shoulders.

"We'd imagine there's a lot of criticism out there, you don't have to go looking too far to find it," he maintained.

"You know it's there and you have to try and get on with the game and do the best job you can do.

"Everybody has an opinion but not everybody has the full facts about what's going on, you've just got to deal with it and not get too upset about it."

Irish Independent

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