Tuesday 22 October 2019

Anthony Foley: We were lucky to survive at the end and not concede bonus point

Munster coach admits his side were second-best and thoroughly out-played.

Munster head coach Anthony Foley
Munster head coach Anthony Foley

Declan Whooley

Munster head coach Anthony Foley has said his team can have no excuses after they were comprehensively defeated by Saracens at Allianz Park today.

The home side ran out comfortable 33-10 winners as the Irish province will miss out on the knock-out stages of the competition for just the second time in 17 seasons.

"It is not something we obviously planned for (pool stage elimination)," he said post-match. "We came here to win the game and came here to put in a good performance. That was a team that could have reached the knockout stages and we didn’t produce that."

"It is very frustrating and very annoying to be out of the tournament so early."

Off the pace from the outset, they trailed 23-3 at the interval and a late consolation try could not gloss over a bitterly disappointing performance in London.

Foley however offered no excuses post-match and added that Saracens were by far the better side on the day and were fortunate the hosts didn't claim the bonus-point with a fourth try.

"Saracens came out and were dominant in big areas, ball carrying, ruck area and we made a lot of errors passing the ball," he said. "They had big moments in the game."

"When we have look back on it we'll see that their tries came from big mistakes from us and that is frustrating and hard to take.

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"It kept us out of the game and we never got momentum. We were lucky to survive there in the end that we didn't concede four tries."

So just where did it all go wrong for the double European champions?

It came from fellas dropping ball – execution. We weren’t putting them under pressure and getting into space. Unfortunately it worked during the week and it didn’t out on the pitch there.

Conor Murray was ruled out yesterday with a neck injury and the pack, under severe pressure all day, was dealt a further blow when CJ Stander was forced from the field of play during the first half and believes it is crucial that the team dusts itself down for what will effectively be a dead-rubber against Sale next Sunday.

"Injuries happen," he expressed matter-of-factly. "We won't delve into them as excuses. I think Saracens outplayed us out there today. We need to look at ourselves and see where we go forward and what we learn."

"We play next Sunday at Thomond Park against Sale and it's important that we put this to bed during the week and turn up in front of our own fans and give them a performance everyone can buy into."

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