In the space of 80 minutes in west Wales, Anthony Foley witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of his Munster side as they salvaged a draw to ensure they did not lose ground in the battle for the Guinness Pro12 play-offs.
First the good and their unquenchable belief that has filtered through the generations and manifested into yet another comeback.
Trailing 25-13 with barely six minutes remaining on the clock, the new breed, having watched their predecessors do countless times before, mustered a recovery with two tries, for Felix Jones and JJ Hanrahan, that handed Ian Keatley a straight-forward equaliser in front of the posts with the last kick of the game.
“We’re happy to come away from Parc y Scarlets with something because we didn’t in the previous two years. We’re happy to get out of the situation we were in,” said Foley.
“We got into the lead and then in the next five minutes we were nine points down that was followed by a scrum penalty. From being in a position of dominance we were suddenly looking at not even getting a bonus point.
“It would have been easy for the guys to drop their heads and accept the loss from that position but they dug deep and managed to get two tries that got a result. There were a lot of young guys out there but they all kept trying and believing.
“It’s not ideal when you’re 12 points down with time running out so if someone told you with five minutes left you would get two points then you would take it.”
The bad was how wasteful Munster were with a remarkable 68 per cent of possession. It was 70 per cent in the first-half alone. They have potentially decisive games against play-off rivals Glasgow and Ospreys coming up next who will not allow Munster such luxury.
The scrums were on a par while the lineout came under pressure from Wales backrow Aaron Shingler but while Munster scrapped for every ball, at times they showed surprising naivety with it.
“We need to look at a few things like how we’re getting out of our own half. We weren’t good enough at that and we allowed Scarlets to build pressure in our 22,” admitted Foley.
“Our discipline didn’t hold up under that, and they kicked their points. It wasn’t good management of the game and that is something that needs addressing.”
That brings us on to the ugly. Indiscipline handed
18 points from six penalties and saw
finish the first-half in the sin bin. His stamp on
may well have been born of the frustration shared by the whole team at failing to convert possession into points but will count for little, despite his coach’s protestations.
“Perhaps we should bring back rucking because when I played, people didn’t stay on the wrong side long. Players hanging around on the wrong side are slowing the game,” said Foley.
There were encouraging signs over Tommy O'Donnell's head injury and the loss of the flanker, before that of his replacement Paddy Butler to a similar blow, hampered Munster. "It was a blow to lose him because he is a big player for us. Then to back that up, Paddy came on and suffered a similar injury," said Foley.