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We want an intimidating atmoshphere: Anthony Foley

By Ruairdhri O'Connor

Few inside Munster's squad will dare breathe a word of it but Zebre will be dispatched tonight, and with them the aberration that has seen the squad lose three successive games in what was once fortress Thomond Park.

The sense of relief will, then, be inevitable and palpable.

Never in the professional era have Munster presented so meekly in Limerick. The echoes of so many past glories here have filtered through to the present, the run of home defeats was even more galling as they straddled two seasons, two different coaching regimes.

It is taking a while for the new start to stick, a week bookended by Italian victories may signal that the new beginning bears something of substance.

Anthony Foley will certainly hope so. The feelgood factor following his appointment is gone, it is time to start producing and the visit to Leinster in a fortnight's time, when the nation will peer through the window to view his progress, looms large on the horizon. So too Europe.

Hence his clarion call to the supporters, the reality is that there were echoes of a different sort in Thomond Park last time around.

There are a variety of factors at play but Thomond doesn't intimidate because there are rarely sufficient numbers in it often enough to intimidate.

Foley can do little about many of these factors, controlling his team's ability to generate excitement and some sense of a feel-good factor is within his gift, though.

"Hopefully we can build on the momentum from Treviso last weekend and take that forward," he said. "We want an intimidating atmosphere, we want the supporters to come out and support us. We need that. We need to build a fortress there again.

"We've had a few back-to-back poor results there that we need to rectify and that has to happen between the white lines, but the help can come from the terraces and I think that's important going forward, that we start to build momentum in Thomond Park."

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