Yet for all the Munster head coach’s positivity about the Champions Cup Pool 4, round four, fixture in the English East Midlands, letting go of the anger at Romain Poite’s handling of Saturday’s Thomond Park clash will be easier said than done.
The French referee changed the course of the fixture, won 31-19 by Leicester, with his decision, aided by TMO Gilles Cogne, on 34 minutes to award a penalty against Munster when the video evidence suggested it should have gone against the visitors for not one but two infringements.
The incident in question came with the game tied at six-all and saw Andrew Conway’s chase of his own kick blocked by lock Mike Fitzgerald who drifted backwards into the Munster full-back’s line with his eyes on the attacking player and sent him to the ground.
Poite called in the TMO and, between them, they saw a push on Fitzgerald by James Cronin — but not that the Munster prop had himself been pushed by Dan Cole. The result was a Tigers penalty that led to a game-changing try from Niki Goneva, sending the visitors on the way to an 18-6 half-time lead.
“To penalise James Cronin for being pushed by Dan Cole into another player, who then shoulder charged Andrew Conway and we end up with the penalty that ultimately ended up the maul to the try. You’re there going... It’s nothing short of a disgrace,” Foley said. “If you’re going to look at a picture, look at the whole picture. I am just baffled by it. I said it to him (Poite) at half time. I said, ‘it’s a massive decision.’ He just needs to be accountable for it. It was a massive turning point in the game.”
When it was put to Foley that there were procedures in place to discuss officials’ decisions with refereeing chiefs, the Munster boss replied: “It’s a waste of time really isn’t it? Leicester’s director of rugby Richard Cockerill recognised the significance of the moment and added: “I was happy to have the penalty but I had no idea what it was for.”