Anthony Foley will prepare for Saturday’s Guinness Pro12 final against Glasgow Warriors with injury problems exacerbating concerns about Munster’s poor game management in the narrow semi-final win over Ospreys.
The Munster head coach has a serious doubt over the participation of scrum-half Conor Murray for the trip to Ravenhill to face the side which topped the Pro12 table at the end of the regular season and denied Ulster Friday night.
Murray limped off with medial collateral ligament (MCL) damage in his right knee just 16 minutes into the 21-18 win over Ospreys at Thomond Park on Saturday.
Captain Peter O’Mahony followed him out of the game soon after half-time with a tight hip flexor and try-scoring wing Simon Zebo also failed to finish the encounter as he was taken off for head injury assessment on 67 minutes.
Fellow wing Keith Earls finished the game but was struggling with an issue in his leg which Foley attributed to cramp.
The potential loss of experience and leadership for the final will compound Foley’s assessment of a second-half performance that was far too loose for his liking as CJ Stander offered up an intercept try for Rhys Webb with a loose pass from a scrum and Simon Zebo gave the ball away too cheaply for Jeff Hassler’s five-pointer as Ospreys rallied from 16-3 down after 42 minutes when Munster should have been killing off the game.
“We threw an intercept pass and we had a bad exit. Zeebs should have langered it down the pitch in no uncertain terms,” Foley said. “We didn’t need to pussy foot around in our own half.
“CJ got a bad call and you just don’t mess around there with Rhys Webb, he’s all over the back of the scrum. We just need to make sure we learn from that and move on and don’t divvy up cheap points like that.”
Foley praised his players’ work-rate, defensive discipline and an excellent set-piece. There was kudos too for replacement scrum-half Duncan Williams and fly-half Ian Keatley, “apart from the goal-kicking”.
Keatley missed two penalties and three conversions but the head coach backed him to rebound.
“Everybody makes mistakes, has bad days and it’s what you do next that’s the most important thing,” Foley said.
“We’ll sit down, Keats understands the game and it’s what he does and how he prepares for next week, he’s a good lad and a good player - a guy that can lead us around the pitch and hopefully next week we don’t see those misses.”
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