Foley sees window of opportunity
Published 04/09/2015 | 02:30
Donncha O'Callaghan's move to Worcester marks the end of an era but Munster coach Anthony Foley is hoping his charges can write their own legacy this season.
O'Callaghan's move, along with Paul O'Connell's switch to Toulon, sees Munster saying farewell to two of the pillars of the glory years.
But Foley, also a key part of those triumphs, knows that nothing stands still and his sole focus at this stage is ensuring last year's Guinness Pro12 runners-up hit the ground running this weekend.
The clash with Treviso will be the first of at least four encounters with the Italians, with the pair also doing battle in the opening game of the European Champions Cup in November.
A lot of rugby will be played between now and then on the domestic and international scene and Foley knows it is vital that points are picked up when they are without their Irish stars.
"The points you earn during these international windows are worth the exact same as any other time of the season, so we need to make sure we are producing the performances to win those points," said Foley as he heads into his second season in charge.
Last year's campaign did not start well with a surprise 14-13 loss to Edinburgh in Thomond Park, but their record against Treviso is impressive.
There have been ten meetings between the sides in the league, with Munster winning seven. They have triumphed in all five home matches against the Italians but have lost three of the five away ties. There has never been a draw between them.
Munster did the double over Treviso last season, winning 21-10 away and 30-19 at home. The 19-point haul by Treviso was the most they have got in an away fixture to Munster.
Munster's biggest win over Treviso came in their first league meeting five seasons ago when they ran out 39-13 winners, with 39 points the most they have scored against the Italians.
Treviso have never secured a bonus point away to Munster in the league and Foley will be hoping that trend continues this weekend as they look to make a flying start to the season as a new era unfolds.
Munster's record win on the opening weekend of the league came against Italian opposition when they defeated Aironi 33-17 in 2010.