Munster expecting a sell-out crowd for the visit of Saracens

Coach Anthony Foley expecting another tight game with the English outfit

The impact of Ian Keatley's dramatic winner against Sale Sharks was felt immediately back home in Munster with almost ten times as many tickets being sold in the following day compared to a year ago.

Last year Munster went down in Edinburgh in the opening game and just over a hundred tickets were sold the following day for the second round game the following weekend against Gloucester at Thomond Park.

But Munster’s dramatic 27-26 win at the AJ Bell Stadium saw over 1,000 tickets being sold and Friday’s game at Thomond Park is heading for a sell-out with 21,818 tickets sold and just over 3,000 remaining for the showdown with Saracens.

Munster were the only team to win away from home on the opening weekend of the new European Champions Cup and victory on Friday against last year's finalists would leave them in a prime position when the competition resumes in December with back-to-back clashes with Clermont Auvergne.


Coach Anthony Foley’s side did not pick up any injuries in Saturday’s dramatic encounter against Sale Sharks and he expects to be picking from the same squad as last week.

A minimum

Foley only used 18 players on Saturday but was anxious not to disrupt their comeback in the second half so he kept the changes to a minimum.

“There would be a lot of guys at the weekend wondering why they didn’t come on, they weren’t saying it to me, but we had momentum, and we managed to get over the line. We needed to keep the changes to a minimum and get the biggest effect from that as I think Sale were going to do that with their eight subs anyway,” he said.

Foley reiterated his frustration with match referees Mathieu Raynal and his replacement when he got injured Laurent Cardona and is hopeful that another French official who is more than acquainted with Munster, Jerome Garces, will not be a central figure on Friday.

"They're not out there to do malice to anyone. They want a good game as well, and they want to be able to go back in and write their report and get bigger games and get into the international circuit and get into the World Cup selection. That will be a big thing for them at the end of this season, to be in that category so they can go to the World Cup.

“So there is pressure on the referees and the officials but we’d like for them to have a good game. We’d like that for our own players as well but we understand we’ll make mistakes, the players will make mistakes and the referees will make mistakes. It’s the ones at this level, the simple ones shouldn’t be happening and that’s frustrating.”

Saracens opened their account with a 30-23 home win over Clermont Auvergne and the manner of their win left Foley in no doubt about the task facing his men on Friday .

“I thought Clermont went over there and went after them. I thought they took their opportunities very well when they came across and they could have taken one or two more and they didn’t.

Their chances

“Saracens took their opportunities and they got one or two and they didn’t look back. They didn’t say ‘are you sure?’ They took their chances and that’s what we expect. . . We had them two years ago and it was the same. I don’t think there’s ever been a score between Munster and Saracens, they’ve always between tight encounters when we’ve met in Europe so I wouldn’t imagine this would be any different.”

Meanwhile, hooker Damien Varley underwent surgery for a troublesome foot injury yesterday. It's not clear yet how long he will be ruled out.