Sunday 19 November 2017

Trip to Wembley on the cards as Munster dealt tough Euro hand

Conor Murray gets ready for the Irish training at the San Isidro Club in Buenos Aires
Conor Murray gets ready for the Irish training at the San Isidro Club in Buenos Aires
Munster and Ireland players Felix Jones, left, and Simon Zebo chat during training ahead of their second test match against Argentina
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Munster could make their first appearance at Wembley next season after being handed a difficult draw in the new European Rugby Champions Cup pool stages.

Anthony Foley's men will meet last season's beaten finalists Saracens, Clermont and Sale Sharks in the reformed competition and he says he would welcome the opportunity to play at the home of English football if Saracens want to switch as they did with Leinster in 2010.

Munster paid for their end of season Pro12 slump by going into the hat as second seeds, with Glasgow Warriors – who finished ahead of them in the table – first seeds alongside Leinster who received a far more favourable draw against Castres, Harlequins and Wasps.

Ulster, meanwhile, have landed in the pool of death alongside Toulon, Leicester Tigers and Scarlets, while Connacht's Challenge Cup campaign sees them take on La Rochelle, Bayonne and Exeter Chiefs.

Foley has taken over from Rob Penney and would not stand in the way of moving Munster's game in London to Wembley.

"I'm sure our fans will travel in big numbers to Manchester, London and Clermont and if Saracens fancy taking our game to Wembley, then that will be fine with us," he said.

"It's not a decision for us, but all the players love to play in big stadia and in big games. And all the games in our pool will be big games."

Foley is targeting an improvement in defence next season in order to go two steps further than Munster's successive semi-final defeats.

"We want to be playing in the big finals in May and to do that we are going to have to stop teams scoring easy points against us.

"We need to rectify that, especially when it comes to playing in the Champions Cup," he said.

Irish Independent

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