Thursday 22 March 2018

Botha backs Foley for Reds job

Hugh Farrelly

BJ BOTHA has backed Anthony Foley to take over as Munster coach when Tony McGahan returns to Australia at the end of the season.

The Springbok prop, in his first year with the province having joined from Ulster, has been impressed with the work Foley is doing with the Munster forwards and believes he is ready to take over.

"Yeah, I know Anthony as our forwards coach so he deals with us much more often. As a player you like to be settled and have consistency and Munster create an environment where we look after ourselves on and off the field," said Botha of Foley, who has been seconded to the Ireland set-up for the Six Nations, with national forwards coach Gert Smal having treatment for an eye problem.

"Tony has been a sensational coach. He really made me feel part of the side straight away, he's a really big loss to Munster."

Botha also questioned the wisdom of the IRFU's player succession policy which is limiting the use of overseas players in the provinces.

"I don't think you can have four unions (provinces) competing with Irish-only players," he told Setanta Sports. "That's quite unrealistic.

"Teams need those (overseas) guys to help them perform, help them on the European stage. I try to bring guys through and create an environment where we can bring up the level in all positions."

The forgotten man of Irish rugby is due to make a return, with Niall O'Donovan drafted back by Munster to guide their forwards.

O'Donovan who was the Irish forwards coach from 2002 to '08, winning three Triple Crowns, has been out of frontline coaching for almost four years since Smal replaced him. But with Foley away, Munster have turned to a man who looked after their pack for five seasons before he joined Ireland.

Irish Independent

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