Anthony Foley does not see any dead rubbers for Munster
Treviso a chance to allow province finish disappointing campaign on a high
Munster head of fitness Aled Walters and head coach Anthony Foley during training at University of Limerick this week. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.
Champions Cup: Treviso v Munster, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Sunday, 1.0pm (BT Sport)
This matters, honest. It matters because Munster are back here on February 28th in the Pro12. It matters because they have finally stopped a horrible run of defeats – besides a lucky enough win in Belfast – dating back to November 14th (when Treviso came to Limerick). It matters because they probably won’t see Conor Murray, CJ Stander and possibly Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O’Donnell, James Cronin, Keith Earls and Simon Zebo until late March.
The result certainly matters to Anthony Foley who has had to do something alien to his nature: constantly give reasons for some inept Munster defeats in a public forum.
“Last season we lost the Pro12 final and did not get out of our group in the Champions Cup,” Foley explained. “We have lost big games this season too and we have to make sure we learn from those lessons.
“We are our own harshest critics, we have a stable environment but we are building a new team and this group is growing.
“Everyone turned up for one another against Stade and we know our supporters will always be right behind us. Now we want to try and finish things on a high.”
Injuries aside, it looks like a full squad with perhaps the selection of Dave Kilcoyne over Cronin at loosehead a nod to the higher power. The latter has been called up to Ireland’s Six Nations squad, the former has not.
TREVISO: J Hayward; A Pratichetti, E Bacchin, A Sgarbi, S Ragusi; J Ambrosini, A Lucchese; M Zanusso, O Gega, S Ferrari, M Fuser, J-F Montauriol, M Lazzaroni, A Zanni (capt), AJ Steyn. Replacements: D Giazzon, A De Marchi, S Manu, T Palmer, M Barbini, T Iannone, S Christie, L McLean.
MUNSTER: S Zebo; K Earls, F Saili, R Scannell, R O’Mahony; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, J Ryan; D Foley, D Ryan; B Holland, T O’Donnell, CJ Stander (capt). Replacements: N Scannell, J Cronin, M Sagario, R Copeland, M Chisholm, J O’Donoghue, T O’Leary, G van den Heever.
Referee: A Ruiz (France).