Tuesday 21 November 2017

Let's finish with a flourish - Foley

Mike Sherry throws into a lineout between Sean O’Connor and Billy Holland during training at Thomond Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Mike Sherry throws into a lineout between Sean O’Connor and Billy Holland during training at Thomond Park. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Munster coach Anthony Foley wants his men to finish the season on a high and leave nothing to chance in wrapping up Champions Cup rugby for 2016-17.

Victory over Scarlets tomorrow will guarantee participation in Europe's elite competition next season, but with the Welsh coming to Thomond Park needing to win to maintain their push for a semi-final spot, Foley knows they will face a searching test.

But this is a fixture in which Munster have enjoyed dominance. There have been 28 league meetings between them and Munster have won 17, Scarlets have come out on top in nine and there have been two draws.

Munster have won 11 of the 13 home meetings against the Welshmen, with Scarlets just managing two wins on their trips over across the Irish Sea.

They won 13-6 three seasons ago and Scarlets' only other away success in this fixture came in the 2003-04 campaign when they won 19-12.

Munster's biggest win came in 2011-12 when they scored a 37-12 triumph, while the largest defeat was 37-20 in Stradey Park back in 2003-4. Scarlets have twice done the double over Munster, and having won 26-22 in Parc y Scarlets in this campaign they are going for their third double tomorrow.

But Foley said Munster are fired up for a big finish to the season and with both teams needing to win tomorrow for different reasons, he believes it will be a cracking match.

"We have to win. We know that. They have to win to catch Ulster. Ospreys have to win to catch us and Ulster have to win their game so within those two games there's a lot at stake," he explained.

"We're all very conscious of it but we have to keep an eye on Edinburgh as well, so it's important that we get our job done and if we get our job done then well, it's in our hands.

"But rather than looking around for other people to do you a favour. . . it's in our control - you fight hard to get stuff in your control and it's about us going out now and delivering a performance that can win the game."

He said the players had a good week in training and were anxious to finish on a winning note.

"We need to make sure we win the game this week, otherwise we're reliant on other people not getting results," he added.

Irish Independent

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