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Foley Pleased As Munster Maintain Winning Form

Foley Pleased As Munster Maintain Winning Form

Speaking after Munster’s comprehensive 38-12 victory away to the Newport Gwent Dragons, and while reflecting on the bonus point win that now places his team third in the GUINNESS PRO12, head coach Anthony Foley made particular reference to a couple players.

The first of those was JJ Hanrahan. Best known for his exploits at out-half and on occasion at centre, the Kerry native made his first appearance at full-back for the province in Newport and Anthony Foley seemed pleased with his performance.

“JJ’s a talented rugby player and we just want to get the ball in his hand and let him run and we just felt that trying him at 15 would allow him a bit more freedom to get his running game going,” said Foley.

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“I thought he went okay (tonight), he put in a very solid display at full-back. I thought he would have been tested a bit more under the high ball but he wasn’t.

“He dealt with a lot of things back there positionally and kicked well, and obviously set up Andrew Smith’s try. We’re looking to get as many footballers on the pitch as possible.”

The Munster boss was delighted to see the returning Dave O’Callaghan back in action for the first time since February after successfully rehabbing a knee injury.

“It was brilliant to get Dave back and hopefully he’ll get more game-time in the next few weeks. He’s a talented player who has been injured for a long period so it was great to have him back in our squad.”

In a bid to gain as much game-time as possible, O’Callaghan departed the hotel early on Saturday morning to catch a flight from Birmingham to Cork to play 40 minutes for Dolphin in their Ulster Bank League game against St. Mary’s at Irish Independent Park – the visitors winning out 27-18 on the day.

Foley  also made reference to new signing Pat Howard who made his debut for Munster at Rodney Parade having joined on a three-month contract from Western Province earlier this month.

“Pat carried one ball and made a nice tackle, he has good awareness and it’s great to have him in the jersey and it just brings a bit more competition to the back-line.”

Eubesio Guinazu was a late withdrawal on Friday night with a tight hamstring and he will undergo further assessment this week, while Andrew Conway, who was replaced in the first half of the Dragons game, sustained a concussion and is currently following the return-to-play protocols.

Munster’s returning internationals will be integrated into the squad as the week continues, and as confirmed by the IRFU, Conor Murray will continue to follow and complete the Head Injury Assessment process.

Gerhard van den Heever returns to full contact training this week after recovering from a mid-foot sprain.

Injured players Donnacha Ryan (toe), Damien Varley (foot), Mike Sherry (shoulder), Keith Earls (knee), Cian Bohane (knee) and James Cronin (ankle) are continuing with their rehabilitation programmes.