Anthony Foley defends Donncha O'Callaghan over Stuart Olding kick
Axel is frustrated that his veteran lock had to travel to Glasgow early this week as Munster were preparing for the Champions Cup
Anthony Foley insists he has enough on his plate this week, readying his side for the visit of Clermont Auvergne, to allow himself to be distracted over the loss of Donncha O'Callaghan. The second row was banned for four weeks, on Tuesday, for kicking Ulster's Stuart Olding in a ruck. He found his time on the sidelines reduced to two weeks on good behaviour (16 career yellow cards but a spotless 2013/14).
Two weeks, however, means two Champions Cup games with Billy Holland now expected to deputise for Dave Foley and Paul O'Connell during the back-to-back encounters. The Munster coach still needs some convincing that O'Callaghan should be suspended at all.
'The ball was in the ruck,' Foley points out. 'Stuart Olding had the ball underneath him. Donncha looks down, sees the ball and goes to kick it. Stuart obviously feels Donncha is about to kick the ball and flicks the ball out between his legs. Donncha misses the ball, but I think it's his calf that clips Stuart on the side of the head.
'There is no intention of kicking Stuart. Everything is around kicking the ball. If you look at a penalty Donncha gave away earlier in the game, where the ball was kicked out of our ruck, their No.4 (Alan O'Connor) did the exact same thing.'
'The only difference,' Foley adds, 'is the ball was there on our side when he happened to kick it. If Stuart hadn't handled the ball in the ruck and left the ball there, Donncha would not have kicked the ball. It's nothing. It's an absolutely nothing.'
As for the trip to Glasgow, from Limerick, to explain an incident that happened in Belfast, Foley declares, 'It's the waste of a lad's day to have to go over to there when he should be preparing for a game this weekend. That's frustrating but it is all we can say to be honest with you.'
Looking ahead to the visit of Clermont to Limerick, Foley believes the French side are coming with a famous win on their minds. His team, however, have recently developed a winning knack. 'That's a good habit to have. We are looking to take it into this weekend and hopefully into the following weekend,' he said.