Foley praises charges but still looking for consistency

Munster head coach Anthony Foley praised his players for ending a three-game losing streak with victory over Leinster but called for greater consistency in their performances as they head into the second half of the season.

Foley praises charges but still looking for consistency

Foley’s team will have little time to sit back and enjoy this Guinness Pro12 victory over their old foes with a visit to Connacht on New Year’s Day next on the horizon but as enjoyable as the 28-13 win was for the head coach, he will be at pains to remind his players there are still plenty of tough challenges ahead in this campaign and the back-to-back Champions Cup losses to Clermont followed by a squandered opportunity to win away at Glasgow have not been forgotten.

“The one thing I’ll hit them with is that we want a consistent performance like that. You want it over a period of time and you want that performance against Clermont, you want it for more than 40 minutes against Glasgow,” Foley said. “You want more. You want to be selfish because when they play with that intent and physicality, from my eyes that’s what I like to see; that’s what I like a Munster team to play like, and be that ruthless.

“We want it again next week but it will be hard to reproduce, and it’ll be hard to come by but it’s a standard we need to push toward.”

Munster look likely to be without Number 8 Robin Copeland for the trip to Galway after the back rower went off in the first-half with a shoulder injury while there are also concerns over flanker Tommy O’Donnell..

“He’s on a sling at the moment so he’ll get a scan to see what it is,” Foley said of Copeland. “Will he be in Connacht next week, it’s hard to see it. Tommy got a cut in his lip that they couldn’t stitch, it was probably too wide and he couldn’t come back on. Felix came off with a bang to the shoulder but it doesn’t look that serious and Stephen Archer had a laceration on his head but he came out for the second half, he was fine.

“Hopefully we’ll have a few back. We’ll see how they are tomorrow and hopeully have three or more fellas back in who are available for selection. But there are a lot of lads who put up their hands tonight but obviously there a big physical output and there’ll be a lot of sore bodies in the morning, and it’ll be out job to get 23 fit bodies up to Connacht next week because as everybody has seen this season, Connacht are very tough team to beat.”

Foley declared himself satisfied with Munster’s league progress but repeated his demand for better consistency in the New Year. “We’re in the top half of the table, (better) than the top half, and it’s going okay. We’d like to improve our home record and today helped but it wasn’t great losing two of our early season home games. Losing to Glasgow away isn’t something you should be ashamed of but when you see the the context of that game we were nine points up at half-time and had the conditions with us in the second half and to lose that game was disappointing.

“If we get that consistency of performance I think we can kick on and hopefully we’ll get that. Our squad is growing the whole time because of fellas getting their opportunities and showing their ability to step in. We’re in a lot stronger place than we were when we came out at the start of the league and hopefully we can maintain that position.”

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