Saturday 1 October 2016

Losses hurt, but we hope to be better this week

Anthony Foley

Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30

Dan Goggin, pictured during training this week, is a player who has seized his opportunity, according to head coach Anthony Foley Picture: Sportsfile
Dan Goggin, pictured during training this week, is a player who has seized his opportunity, according to head coach Anthony Foley Picture: Sportsfile

No matter the result, there are always positives to take out of a game, but I think everyone would feel the pain of that one-point loss to Cardiff last week.

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After we fought back well to move ahead in the third quarter, we slipped off a bit in the closing stages and it cost us.

We need to rectify it this week, and we're going over to Rodney Parade to face Dragons, which is a tough place to go, so it's a bit of a grind now this week.

We have to make sure that we don't repeat the issues that we had last weekend and we need to put in a solid display for 80 minutes.

Most of all, I think a couple of our structures need tightening up. The glaring ones are how we exit and thereafter how do we get the ball back. After that, how we use that ball when we have it is vital.

We have spent a couple of days working on those items this week in order to make sure we have that off to a T.

Last weekend, Tommy O'Donnell, Rory Scannell and Dave Foley had to leave the action early. Injuries are always tough on players, and when they go off with serious knocks you don't expect to see them for a few weeks.

Sometimes they can surprise you and hopefully we get one or two pieces of good news from them, they are quality players who are playing well.

Injuries are something that we've experienced plenty of already this season, and Dan Goggin is an example of one guy that has come in and seized his opportunity.

Qualify

He's coming off the back of a Sevens programme which had him working during the summer to try and qualify for the Olympics. He then came back in late to pre-season as a result, but he really hit the ground running with us.

Jaco Taute has been in with us training this week, and he looks like a quality player too. He is a versatile player: he has played 13, 15 and 12 over the years, and he looks like a lad you can trust with the ball. I'm sure the Munster supporters are looking forward to seeing him make his debut.

This weekend we'll have a couple more of our internationals back in harness, and we'd really like to give them all a feel for the season. It can be tough to play the waiting game.

Despite their talents, we cannot expect that they will hit the ground running but they are training really well at the moment and hopefully we'll see that out on the pitch.

It's been an interesting season so far. We've played four games, won three and we are 50pc in the Pro12. We had a great win over in Scarlets; we got done in the last minute over there last year, so that result two weekends ago was pleasing.

You are always disappointed when you don't back a win like that up, and it doesn't matter how you play or what chances you created. It's all about results, and unfortunately there is a bitter taste in our mouths at the moment after the weekend.

But as seasons go, it has been positive. Moving into the new building, having everyone in one centre makes everything interesting and exciting at the moment.

It was like opening a new school when we moved into the high performance centre. We had all the same faces, but the surroundings were strange.

There was a bit of a buzz around for the few days, but that loss to Cardiff has focused everyone's minds pretty quickly. We know the test we face in Dragons, we have prepared really well all week, and all we need now is to do the business tomorrow.

We know what's expected from us and it's important that we get the result that the club deserve. 

Dragons are a very good side, they are really well coached by Kingsley Jones. They have a very good pack, their half-backs Sarel Pretorius and Nick MacLeod control the game for them.

They have a very young, exciting backline with Hallam Amos at 15, while we'll all recognise Pat Howard on one of the wings from his time in Munster. We understand the quality they have, Rynard Landman in the second-row, Nic Cudd at 7. They may have lost Toby Faletau, but with Ed Jackson at 8 we'll still be facing a serious challenge from them.

Every time you go over there it's a massive battle. They never fail to deliver on that. They have always put it up to us. Unfortunately last year we got it handed to us, so this weekend we are forewarned that we need to be on the money from the start.

Irish Independent

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