Anthony Foley still frustrated by lack of accountability for "massive consequences" of refereeing decisions

The Munster boss was speaking ahead of his side's match with Treviso, and was clear on the fact that

Anthony Foley, Munster,

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Speaking ahead of his side's game against Treviso on Sunday, Anthony Foley highlighted a number of refereeing decisions that have gone against him and his team that have cost them dearly.

Speaking to Oisin Langan of Off The Ball on Tuesday, Foley was playing up the positives after his side put in a strong performance against Stade Francais last weekend. 

Although there was bad news to deliver in the form of another injury setback for Tyler Bleyendaal, Foley opened with an encouraging update on James Cronin, stating that he could well be back in contention to play sooner rather than later.

"James trained fully today, hopefully he gets no reaction from that and reports a clean bill [of health] tomorrow, it would be great to have him back in the mix". 

However, he also stated that the quad injury suffered by Bleyendaal is one that has been tough to manage for both the player and the club. 

"Further investigation into his quad injury has lead it to requiring 12 weeks out. I'm very disappointed obviously for the player, we've all seen glimpses of potentially what he could do for us.

"It's an awkward injury, it's one that only affects him at his top end speed and when he's kicking off the tee at full extension. It's very hard to tell a player who's running around training with you and going at a good clip that he's not available". 

He added that, despite the number of injuries that they're dealing with at the moment, and the changing situation at the club, they're not looking to provide any excuses for their poor form.

Image: Temporary consultant Andy Farrell and coach Anthony Foley. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

"If a player says that [about the number of injuries] or I say that they're labeled as excuses. We have to deal with the hand we're dealt [...] We don't look at what we don't have in the changing room, we look at what we have and how good it is and the qualities we have as people, and they tend to come out of you as a player". 

However, Foley also spoke about the quality of officiating in the matches to date and how much of an impact that can have on a team as well as the result. 

"At times, there are decisions being made in these games that have massive consequences that people who are making them - and they're not involved in Munster or Leicester or Stade Francais - aren't being held accountable for, and you cannot get away from that. And it hurts everyone". 

Speaking about specific instances, the Munster head coach said "go back and look at the games. Look at what happened in the Saracens game last year at close moments, and look at what happened in the Leicester game just before half time, and tell me they're not similar. They happen and we have to live with them".

While he was more than likely referring to the decision to penalise James Cronin in the first half of the defeat to Leicester, he added that coming out on the wrong end of some decisions is inevitable, as are injuries, but "we just need at times to buy a break, get a break, whatever it is, to have the decisions that are made that are outside of your control not kill you as much". 

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Foley admitted that this was something that he had pressed home with his squad in recent weeks and months, and that they were well-drilled on knowing exactly what was expected of them from the referees. 

"We've addressed it during the summer. We did every law quiz that there was available, we've quizzed the lads on understanding the game but when a player gets pushed into another player and you get penalised for being pushed, I've no answer for that. I've no answer for a player running in support and getting pulled back".

Despite that, Foley still felt that things were finally going in the right direction for the province: "Hopefully the worm has turned for us, and hopefully we can get a performance this weekend in terms of Treviso. I think that's very important for our psyche and our supporters".

"The reality is we're sitting in fifth in the Pro 12 with a game in hand, and the team ahead of us is four points ahead of us. We're not a million miles away".