Sport Rugby

Thursday 22 February 2018

Foley: Rugby is turning into a violent game

Anthony Foley has played down comments made by Rob Penney ahead of Leinster clash.
Anthony Foley has played down comments made by Rob Penney ahead of Leinster clash.

Ahead of what is expected to be a titanic tussle between old foes Munster and Leinster tomorrow, Munster forwards coach Anthony Foley has said the game is now turning violent.

The former Irish international, who will be taking over from Rob Penney as head coach at the end of the campaign, says that the modern game is now very different to the game he played with the progression of the professional game.

“It is turning into a violent game,” he conceded.

“It’s got to a level where the ball must be protected as it can be so difficult to get it back, where the hits are massive.”

Foley concedes that the current crop of Munster players have made many sacrifices and have a different routine to his early days.

“We used to train on Tuesday and Thursday. Have a few pints Saturday, a few pints Sunday.”

“Maybe even a few pints on the Monday.”

“These lads (Munster) sacrifice a lot, their education sometimes and their social life. Nobody on match-day will have seen their preparation during the week."

Foley played down comments by Penney that have dominated the build-up to the clash, saying that each province has different periods of domination in the Irish squad.

“We’re playing Leinster, not Ireland,” he told The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.

“It rolls around when the best players in Irish camp were in your province.”

The former back-row forward also allayed fears of an exodus of Irish player to France to follow Jonathan Sexton’s path, believing that the allure of playing in front of family and friend is just too strong.

“We rely on the fact that players have a love for who they play for,” he said.

“The best players want to stay in their province and represent the people they grew up with.”

The Munster legend also suggested that Sexton, whose father hails from Kerry, missed the opportunity to represent the Red Army.

“He’s a generation out,” Foley lamented.

“Those are the breaks. He missed out,” he joked.

By Declan Whooley

Online Editors

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