Foley wants faltering Munster to be ‘calculated and ruthless’

Colm Kinsella at Tho

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Colm Kinsella at Tho

Penny for his Thoughts: Munster scrum half Conor Murray reacts to his side's defeat in Saturday night's Champions Cup clash with Leicester at Thomond Park
HEAD coach Anthony Foley believes his faltering side must be ‘calculated and ruthless’ against Leicester in Welford Road on Sunday in order to stand a chance of securing the win which would keep their diminished hopes of making the Champions Cup quarter-finals alive.

HEAD coach Anthony Foley believes his faltering side must be ‘calculated and ruthless’ against Leicester in Welford Road on Sunday in order to stand a chance of securing the win which would keep their diminished hopes of making the Champions Cup quarter-finals alive.

Munster’s hopes of avoiding a European Cup exit at the pool stages for a second successive year were dented when a clinical Tigers side recorded a precious 31-19 victory at Thomond Park on Saturday.

Munster and Leicester meet again in the return game at Welford Road on Sunday next, 5.15pm.

Foley said: “We’ve got to go over there next week and be calculated and ruthless in the opportunities that we take. I think if you do that in any game you have an opportunity to win it. It’s just frustrating at the moment that we’re talking about having to win over there.”

Foley said he was unaware if media speculation in the lead up to the game that Ian Madigan might be on his way to Munster next season may have unsettled out-half Ian Keatley, who had a night to forget on Saturday.

Foley also defended Munster’s handling of JJ Hanrahan’s departure from the province to Northampton during the summer. Hanrahan started at out-half for Northampton in their big Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 at the weekend when his direct opponent was New Zealand World Cup winner Dan Carter.

Foley said: “We offered JJ (Hanrahan) a contract. JJ opted to go to Northampton, that’s his decision, that’s fine, everybody has the right of choice. The (Ian) Madigan thing came from Dublin. Nobody in Munster has spoken to Madigan or attempted to speak to Madigan. That can be unsettling for a player, particularly in the week of a big game whether it is the Leinster player or the Munster player holding the jersey.”

Foley was critical of a section of Munster supporters who cheered when out-half Keatley was substituted late on in Saturday’s game.

“That is very disappointing from a very knowledgeable crowd to do that and I am very disappointed in that,” he said.

Munster’s options at out-half were limited before the game with replacement Tyler Bleyendaal forced out of the tie due to a recurrence of a quad injury.