Thursday 21 September 2017

'I'd put money that'll never happen to Darren Sweetnam again' - Anthony Foley

Munster head coach Anthony Foley, left, during squad training at University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Munster head coach Anthony Foley, left, during squad training at University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Anthony Foley

Sometimes the difference between winning a losing a game that you deserve to win is very small. Last weekend in Newport we were the better team in my eyes, but it took some good defending at the death to close out a real battle of a game.

It is not lost on me either that we dropped the ball over the line there last year as well and we didn't get the seven points.

A general view of the team room at the Munster Rugby High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
A general view of the team room at the Munster Rugby High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

I think Darren Sweetnam was trying to do the right thing in hoping to steal a few yards for the conversion, but he just needed to have some ball security around it too. It put years on us for that few seconds after what happened.

I'd put money that that will never happen to Darren again in his career: he got a shock alright, but in a good way.

Fair play to Cian Bohane, though, he was sharp and he didn't hesitate. He didn't take a second glance at it and we needed up with seven points thanks be to God.

But all in all it was a display that could have won us the game by more, yet we could have lost. They're the thin margins I mentioned.

In the end we're happy that we have gotten four points but we just need a clinical, ruthless approach to our performance. And hopefully we stay away from those heart-stopping finishes.

When we reflected on the game as a whole, it was pretty clear that we should have closed it out a bit smarter.

The Dragons were really forceful in the last couple of minutes and thank God they took the ball out of the maul because it looked like they were going over in the corner.

Heartbreaking

It would have been heartbreaking to lose a game in the last minute. The boys stood fast and remained patient and fortunately enough we got the bodies in front of them, turned up the pressure and they knocked it on.

Breaking down our game, we were please with the set-piece. I think we won all of our own ball.

Our scrum was very dominant: we won three penalties and a free-kick from it. We had them under pressure, but we felt maybe we could have gotten more out of the scrum.

It was the same with the lineout: we won everything, but you end up being a bit greedy and you always want that bit more from it.

Hopefully we can keep pushing our standards in forward play and try and get better ball for our backs at times- more front-foot ball - and hopefully we can do more with it.

We were delighted to see John Ryan named man of the match.

We were laughing afterwards that John Hayes went years without being recognised on the pitch, but John Ryan is making a better fist of it.

It's great to see him being rewarded. He has stood up for us at loosehead in times of need and he is doing a great job for us at tighthead now. I'm sure he will continue with that trend.

Tomorrow against Edinburgh we will get a real stern test in the scrum, that's for sure. We have always recognised their forwards as one of the better packs in the league.

They have a formidable scrum and a very, very good defensive lineout.

They do like to attack teams up front so we are expecting to be tested tomorrow.

For us it's not about parity, we need to get front-foot ball, and hopefully our forwards can deliver that to our backline. What we need to do is back our own process and hopefully it will be better than theirs.

As we saw when Edinburgh played Leinster, every team of Alan Solomons' has a lot of heart. They never give up, they'll fight to the bitter end, and they are proud of their club.

We need to make sure we get a win at home. We want to build something around Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park.

Unfortunately our first outing at home we got turned over by Cardiff in Cork. Now, on our first day in Thomond we want to get off to a sound start there.

This week is all about our performance, it has to be out of the top drawer. They are an excellent outfit and we need to be on the money. We have to back up that Dragons win, we didn't manage to do that after Scarlets against Cardiff. If we can do that, it will go a long way to taking the win.

I always look forward to home games. It should be a great atmosphere in the ground and we're hoping for a bright atmosphere and a performance to match it.

Irish Independent

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