Munster head coach Anthony Foley praised his young players' fearlessness after they helped secure a vital 27-19 bonus-point Guinness Pro12 victory over Champions Cup qualification rivals Edinburgh in Cork on tonight, writes Simon Lewis.
Rookie fly-half Johnny Holland pulled the strings for the complete 80 minutes at Musgrave Park while fellow Corkman Rory Scannell at inside centre scored the opening try as Munster leapfrogged the Scots into sixth place, the last qualifying spot for next season's premier European club competition.
With Scarlets, in fifth, and Cardiff Blues in eighth, each playing Welsh derbies on Saturday, Munster still need a win on the last day of the season the following Saturday to ensure their place in the Champions Cup draw for 2016-17, but their fate is now back in their own hands after this nail-biting victory.
Foley said he was delighted for his players at the end of what has been a trying week for the head coach. On Monday he was effectively demoted for next season as Munster announced the appointment of Johan “Rassie” Erasmus as director of rugby on a three-year contract.
“Happiness for the lads,” was Foley's response to what was his overriding emotion at the full-time whistle. “All week they've been doing it hard. You often worry about them getting down, because there's no point them getting in themselves because they don't perform, they don't look to throw their passes, they get uptight.
“But from the start, I think Rory tried to flick one out to Andrew early in the game. You know, sometimes these young guys don't have fear. It's good to work with these guys and it was good to see them express themselves. We scored a couple of lovely tries in the first half and we had a well-worked fourth try.”
Foley said he had not been worried that the distractions of events earlier in the week would impact negatively on his team's performance against Edinburgh.
“No. It's hard to explain. Stuff like that doesn't come into our changing room or our team meetings. It happens outside. I think in March it was announced there was going to be a director of rugby, everyone knew that. We were told the timeline on it was six weeks to six months and fair play to the PGB to get it done as quickly as they did and to get a man of the calibre of Rassie in is something that shows great work.
“For them to do that and not interfere with how we prepared and how we got through our week's work is testament to Garrett and the group. They've worked really hard to make sure that the transition will be seamless and to get a person like that in is great for everyone involved.”