Sunday 21 July 2019

Anthony Foley: Let's finish with a flourish

Paul O'Connell will, as always, be leading by example against Edinburgh
Paul O'Connell will, as always, be leading by example against Edinburgh

Declan Rooney

Coach Anthony Foley is hoping that the increased competition for places in his squad will drive Munster to a spot in the Pro12 top two and a home semi-final.

Foley has been boosted by the return of Irish internationals Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony and Conor Murray for tomorrow's crucial match against Edinburgh in Murrayfield.

Fellow Ireland squad members Felix Jones, Ian Keatley, Keith Earls, Tommy O'Donnell and Simon Zebo all made it back in time for Munster impressive 42-20 bonus point triumph over Connacht, but expect to see a full strength Munster of the first time since their Champions Cup victory over Sale in January.

Foley admitted he has been handed the toughest of team selections ahead of tomorrow's game after he was very well served by the extended squad in the absence of his top players.

"We have a lot of quality players and it's unfortunate that it hasn't been that way all season," said Foley.

"That happens and we've gotten on with it and we now have a very big squad and a lot of it has come through as opportunities for other players to step in while others are injured. Fellas have taken that so it's important that we're conscious of that."

If anything, Foley and his management have a tougher task to select a team for tomorow's match than they had for their Champions Cup campaign.

For much of December and January, they were forced to line out without injured Irish international props Dave Kilcoyne and James Cronin, but both players are back and fit for the season finale.

Impressive form from John Ryan and Stephen Archer mean there is a real fight for place in the front-row, while Billy Holland and Ronan O'Mahony are two that appear to have cemented their place in the side with good recent form.

"I think it's important for the ambition of the team and the club and players that we're there in the shake-up," said Foley.

"But if you talk to any player he wants to win trophies so I'd imagine that if they do their job with Munster and we get into the top four then they have a semi-final and a final to show what they can do. I think that's important for us," said the Munster coach.

Irish Independent

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