Munster's old tactics 'didn't work'

Date published: September 1 2014

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Munster's new head coach Anthony Foley admits the side's tactics under Rob Penney fell short against better sides last year.

Munster's new head coach Anthony Foley admits the side's tactics under Rob Penney fell short against better sides last season.

Penney brought his trademark Canterbury-style of play to Thomond Park. When it worked it was entertaining, notably in the Heineken Cup quarter-final thrashing of Toulouse.

But Foley, who was part of the coaching staff under Penney, admits that the top sides in Europe and the Pro12 were too smart to be defeated by constantly playing it wide.

Foley plans to instil greater understanding amongst his squad about when to attack the wings and when to be more direct.

Munster lost out in the semi-finals of the Pro12 and Heineken Cup last season.

“It's not about getting very tight or whatever. It's not about narrowing your game,” Foley told the Irish Times.

“It's actually about widening your game if anything and it's about bringing in other aspects: Where's the gain line? Where's the next time I can get go-forward ball? Where's the next time we can turn them? Where's the next time we can break them and score? It's about just understanding and managing that.

“That's why we talk about use of the ball and being effective. Sometimes the most effective thing you can do is just take it and get good go-forward ball.

“Rob had his way of playing and at times it didn't engage that gain line, and at times it became very lateral. Some days that worked, some days it didn't; against the better teams it didn't work.

“Look, there are times to do that. It's not all the time. So it's about just understanding the game, understanding the situation and making the best use of it.”

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