Saturday 24 March 2018

Foley: Dragons are hard to slay

Temporary consultant Andy Farrell with Felix Jones at Munster training. Photo: Sportsfile
Temporary consultant Andy Farrell with Felix Jones at Munster training. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

This has been a season when Munster can take nothing for granted but history is very much on their side as they prepare to take on the Dragons at Thomond Park tomorrow evening.

Anthony Foley's men were turned over 22-6 in Newport before Christmas but the home fixture has very much gone Munster's way.

The Reds have won all but one of their 13 meetings in Limerick or Cork and have not lost a home fixture against the Dragons since going down 16-6 in the 2003-04 season.

That's the only season the Dragons have done the double over Munster, winning 29-6 in Newport earlier in that campaign.

Tomorrow's clash will be the 28th league meeting between the sides, with Munster victorious in 18 of those games. Dragons have won nine and there has never been a draw between them. Munster have a reasonable away record against them, winning on six of their 14 visits to Wales.

But it is maintaining their impressive home record which is now Munster's main priority, not least as they lost their last two league games at Thomond Park before Christmas.

However, Foley knows that Dragons will present a formidable challenge.

"Dragons are a very good side, they have been competitive across Europe and have knock-outs to look forward to," he said.

"They have also taken a lot of scalps this year in the Pro 12, they're not as affected as other teams by international calls so they are a very tight unit with very few changes to their starting XV.

"They beat us 22-6 over there so we know what it means to play against them and it's important that we get a result.

"Even though Toby Faletau won't be there, their back-row has a big effect on the game and a handful for our pack so it's important we get a foothold in the set-piece exchange, scrum and maul, and hopefully we can get on top in that."

Foley said that having Ireland's new defence coach Andy Farrell on board as a temporary consultant was a help as they try to finish the season on a high.

"He's another voice around the place. It's nice to have somebody else in the room that has a different opinion," added Foley.

Irish Independent

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