Foley on life after O’Connell

Date published: August 26 2015

Anthony Foley knows it won't be easy but believes Munster boast the right characters to launch a positive season in the absence of Paul O'Connell.

Second-row O'Connell announced he was to depart the Irish province this year to take up a contract at Top 14 giants Toulon following the Rugby World Cup.

After 14 years in the red shirt of Munster, his absence will be a blow to both team-mates and supporters, but Foley is confident his side can cope.

"You always have to be careful trying to fill something that's been there, you don't want to artificially fill it – you want people to grow into a position as well," Foley told Pro12Rugby at the season launch at DIAGEO headquarters.

"We don't want people thinking 'this is the way Paul did it last year', people should be finding their own role."

He added: "Peter (O'Mahony) has been captain for a few years now so it's important that he develops as well. We have other lads in our squad that are leaders as well, Denis (Hurley) behind him has proven that beyond shadow of a doubt, and we have other guys underneath that as well."

"We can't have one person as the beacon the whole time, but we've had immense leaders around Paul too.

"Knowing Paul would be leaving, we started searching a while ago to find a player of a quality that would fit into our group.

"You look at the rugby, the athletic ability, the experience and you find out about the character of a player. We were fortunate enough to speak to a few people who know Australian rugby and Mark Chisholm, and he's experienced, durable and captained Bayonne last year."