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Saturday 10 December 2016

Munster seek to right wrongs to regain former glory

Anthony Foley (SPORTSFILE)
Anthony Foley (SPORTSFILE)

All the positive statistics in the world won't make one jot of difference to Munster unless they can bring the intent that was absent without leave away to Stade Francais last week.

They rendered a passionless, hideous representation of the red jersey that will have seen it dry cleaned more than once to rid the stench of those two hours at Stade Jean Bouin.

However, Munster have won 23 out of 24 at home to French clubs and they have won both of their contests against Stade in Limerick in 2000 and 2004.

They also received the timely boost of contract extensions for prop James Cronin, on a three-year deal, despite rumours to the contrary, and hooker Mike Sherry, on a two-year agreement.

Tellingly, the perfect record was broken by Clermont-Auvergne last season.

The former European kingpins were never the most talented, skilful bunch even in their prime years from 2006-to-2008.

They soldered together the various bits and pieces into a force greater than the sum of their parts.

They had a Rolls-Royce pack of forwards and they had a diamond geezer at fly-half.

It was little more than commitment to the shirt and to each other, utter belief in a watered down game plan, streetwise intelligence and a will-to-win driven by the likes of Keith Wood, Mick Galwey and Anthony Foley.

Yes, the same Foley who cut such a confused figure at the end of what another former stalwart Alan Quinlan viewed as one of the biggest losses for the province they had all built from the ground up in the professional era.

Munster v Stade Francais, Thomond Park, Tomorrow (KO 1.0, Sky Sports 3)

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