Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby Ulster

Foley has faith in Scannell as the pressure on Munster intensifies

By Cian Tracey

Published 29/12/2015

Tough: Munster have lost five in a row under Anthony Foley
Tough: Munster have lost five in a row under Anthony Foley

Anthony Foley cut a dejected figure as he attempted to salvage a scrap of positivity from the loss against Leinster - a fifth consecutive defeat and a third at home.

These are testing times for Munster and given their difficult run of fixtures - Ulster are up next on Saturday - the problems may get worse.

Foley made the big decision to drop Ian Keatley from his match-day squad and although on the face of it it looked like the correct decision, replacement Tyler Bleyendaal looked far from fit.

That the Kiwi passed the kicking duties over to Rory Scannell suggested that his niggly quad injury had not yet fully cleared. Given Bleyendaal's apparent struggles, the timing of Foley's decision was all the more interesting.

Scannell was a late inclusion in place of Denis Hurley and the 22-year-old impressed enough to be singled out for praise.

"Rory has come through the Academy and the Irish underage system and he is a talented player and is aggressive and abrasive as well and can also play with the ball in his hand," Foley said.

"Obviously Keats; we need to look after him and that's the best way for us that Tyler could play but not kicking at goal.

"Obviously there is a functional thing there but we felt confident in Rory, I think he's done a very good job throughout his career as a place kicker.

"He was unfortunate with the one (missed kick) in the first-half but that happens so it was a bit difficult but I thought they managed the game pretty well in the first-half.

"But in the second half he put in one beautiful diagonal kick down the pitch and I thought we're in the right frame of mind because it was difficult to move up the pitch."

For all of Foley's attempts at accentuating the positives, like he has done all season, he didn't shirk the major issues.

Foley is expected to sign a one-year contract extension with Munster but he is fully aware of the increasing pressure on his shoulders.

"I imagine there's a lot of criticism out there, you don't have to go looking too far to find it," he maintained. "You know it's there and you have to try and get on with the game and do the best job you can do.

"Everybody has an opinion but not everybody has the full facts about what's going on, you've just got to deal with it and not get too upset about it."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

Widget page
Widget page

From Belfast Telegraph