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Fitzgerald sure 'true Red' Foley perfect man to steer the ship

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Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald speaking to the media during a press conference

Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald speaking to the media during a press conference

SPORTSFILE

Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald speaking to the media during a press conference

Munster received 22 applications – a few of them from Ireland, but most from abroad – to take over from Rob Penney, but CEO Garrett Fitzgerald has confirmed that they did not see the need to interview any of them as they had their man.

Fitzgerald said that Anthony Foley's appointment to the head coach position was a "promotion internally" and it came from a pathway which is now in place in all positions in Munster Rugby.

And he has no doubt that Foley, who has been given a two-year contract with an option on a third, will follow his decorated playing career with success as a coach with his beloved Munster.

"He's a true – I can't say blue – red Munster man and always has been for as long as I've known him. He's always wanted the best for Munster. I've never seen him any other way," he said.

"He's just always wanted the best for the teams he plays for and coaches. He has a phenomenal knowledge of the game, and that is respected by a lot of people, and I think as an individual and a person he is respected by people."

IMPUT

The Munster CEO said that Foley, as part of the existing coaching team, had an input into recruitment for next season, but this was unlikely to increase between now and July as most positions were filled.

"In the recruitment process that goes on every year the coaching staff all have an involvement in it. They've worked with the players at all stages. They know what they're good at, they know what they're bad at, what they need to improve on.

"So we would meet on average every two to three weeks, sit down, review, get opinions and discuss. So he's been involved and is very happy with it and doesn't have any issues with what's been happening to date because he's been part of it."

Fitzgerald admitted they feared losing Foley when they opted for Penney two years ago when they were on a shortlist of three, which also included Tana Umaga.

"The answer to that is yes. It's like your best players and your best coaches, in the market we're in you always fear you're going to lose them," said Fitzgerald.

Foley said that he decided to stay because he felt he could learn under Penney. "I got my feedback, looked at where I needed to go. I wanted to stay, I wanted to work under Rob," he explained.

Irish Independent