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Foley Ready to Hunt
4 April 2003, 2:25 pm
Anthony Foley is confident that Munster can pick up from where they so successfully left off when they return to Heineken Cup action this weekend.
Anthony Foley is confident that Munster can pick up from where they so successfully left off when they return to Heineken Cup action this weekend.

Munster qualified for this Sunday's quarter-final clash against old rivals Leicester with a momentous 33-6 victory over Gloucester at Thomond Park, Limerick, in January to squeeze out the Zurich Premiership leaders and reach the last eight for the fifth year in a row.

The RBS 6 Nations Championship saw 14 of coach Alan Gaffney's players on duty for eight weeks, either with the senior side or Ireland A as they went in search of the Grand Slam, but Foley is convinced he and his team-mates can quickly get back in the Munster groove.

"I wouldn't imagine it would be hard to pick up where we left off against Gloucester," Foley said.

"I don't think you go into a quarter-final and sit back and wait and see what happens. You have to go out, especially away from home, and really make it happen for yourselves.

"Every game you play away from home is a lot harder than your home games - you obviously don't have as much support and the referee might give the odd decision against you, so it's vital we go out and find our rhythm straight away."

Being the away side in a draw so heavily stacked in favour of the home team makes Munster underdogs but Foley is used to seeing his side being written off.

"I don't think anybody gave us a chance against Gloucester," he said. "It was supposed to be our last day in the European Cup but we managed to dispel a few theories there. It's just important now that we get to the semi-final.

"It's massive, a game we're all looking forward to. Playing the European champions on their home patch with a big prize up for grabs, it's something every player will be up for."

The Leicester and Munster sides are hardly strangers to one another, the Tigers beating the Irishmen 15-9 in last year's final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

And many of the players will be going head-to-head just two weeks after the Grand Slam showdown between Ireland and England at Lansdowne Road.

Such familiarity leads Foley to believe the little things will make the difference between the sides at Welford Road on Sunday.

"We've seen them before on a number of occasions," he added. "Playing against people we've played against quite a bit, some of them a couple of weeks ago, means it won't be an occasion that will overawe us.

"I think because of the way rugby has gone, where every game is analysed with a fine tooth comb, that it's important you have little variations which can create gaps for you.

"It's important to try and create a bit of space and get a bit of time on the pitch, and then hopefully the small things will pay off.

"I think Leicester have moved on and we've certainly moved on with a lot of young guys coming into the squad adding a bit more to us.

"We wouldn't probably have the same experience we had last year with Peter Clohessy and Mick Galwey in the side, so it's just important that we maintain our form because our last game was such a massive high for us. We have to take it on from there."

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