Saturday 16 December 2017

Fitzgerald issues rallying cry

Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald
Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald

John Fallon

Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald is hopeful that suffering two narrow semi-final defeats this season will spur the Reds on to glory when Anthony Foley and his new coaching team take charge.

The chief executive said that professional sport is all about winning trophies and there was a lot of disappointment with the Heineken Cup semi-final loss to Toulon and then last weekend's Pro12 semi-final defeat away to Glasgow Warriors.

Fitzgerald said that the importance of securing home advantage in the Pro12 was again obvious, with Glasgow maintaining the record of the home team winning each semi-final since the play-offs were introduced five seasons ago.

"We were disappointed with the home performance against Glasgow, which was probably the defining match for a home or away semi-final," he said.

"In knock-out rugby sometimes the home game is the difference between the two-point win or the one-point loss.

"Last Saturday, it was a bit like the Toulon game. It was a game that was, again, a missed opportunity. We had the ability to win it, we did exceptionally well, given that we were playing the form team of the last six or seven rounds of the Rabo."

Fitzgerald said that while standards continue to rise in the league and in Europe, it is all about capturing titles and that Munster go into each competition with the intention of winning them.

"This is a business, this is professional sport, it's about winning trophies," he said. "When you start out in the Heineken Cup there are 24 teams in it and only one can win the trophy. Unfortunately this year we are one of the 23.

"I think the semi-final (against Toulon) was a missed opportunity. We played exceptionally well.

"There was a period in the middle of the second half where there was a good opportunity for us to take the game but it just didn't happen. It happens plenty of other teams but I think it was a missed opportunity."

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