Thursday 14 December 2017

Foley eager to spark a red resurgence

Munster coach Anthony Foley. Photo: Ross Parker/Sportsfile
Munster coach Anthony Foley. Photo: Ross Parker/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Consecutive Pro12 defeats to top six rivals Ospreys and Glasgow have increased the pressure on tomorrow's trip to face Treviso (2.0 kick-off), but Munster coach Anthony Foley says talk of a crisis in the camp is wide of the mark.

The losses by four and three points respectively hint at tight encounters that could have fallen either way, and with the benefit of some kinder refereeing decisions and improved discipline, Munster could be three places better off than their current lowly eighth place.

But with games against Treviso, Dragons, Cardiff and Zebre next on the calendar, Foley is confident of a red resurgence.

"If we were playing poorly, I would say yes (it is a crisis), but we're creating a lot of opportunities," said Foley.

"We're fully aware of that situation and we need to deal with that one game at a time.

"You can look at it through blocks and make predictions but we're going to a team that we've played three times so far this season and they've been three very tough physical contests.

"There were big turning points in all three games and we were fortunate that all three fell our way, so we're hoping that we can get our performance right and get a result."

After missing out with Ireland, loosehead prop James Cronin has been left out because of a tight hamstring, while Tommy O'Donnell and Dave Foley are named on the bench after linking up with the squad late this week.

Mike Sherry starts at hooker, Mark Chisholm returns to the second-row and Dave O'Callaghan to the blindside flank.

In three changes at the back, Duncan Williams replaces Tomas O'Leary at scrum-half, Francis Saili is back at outside-centre, while Gerhard van den Heever comes in for Ronan O'Mahony on the wing.

Verdict: Munster

Benetton Treviso - J Hayward; L Nitoglia, L Morisi, A Sgarbi, A Esposito; S Christie, A Lucchese; A De Marchi, L Bigi, S Ferrari; F Paulo, T Palmer; M Barbini, M Lazzaroni, R Barbieri. Reps: F Zani, C Traorè, F Filippetto, J Montauriol, D Budd, R Barbi, C Smylie, T Iannone.

Munster - A Conway; D Sweetnam, F Saili, R Scannell, G van den Heever; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, J Ryan; M Chisholm, B Holland, J O'Donoghue, D O'Callaghan, R Copeland.

Reps: N Scannell, P McCabe, M Sagario, D Foley, T O'Donnell, C Sheridan, C Bohane, D Johnston.

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