'Anthony Foley was very important to me... it's appallingly sad' - Brian O'Driscoll
Former Irish teammate Brian O'Driscoll described the death of Anthony Foley as "appallingly sad".
In an emotional interview, O'Driscoll said the last time he saw 'Axel' was at the funeral of Declan Kidney's wife Ann, and he can scarcely believe that he will now be going to his friend's burial. "To think we met at a funeral and the next one is his funeral, I just can't get my head around that. Like 36 hours later he's no more," O'Driscoll told 'Off the Ball' on Newstalk.
The Dubliner told how Foley was a hugely influential figure in both his life and career during his early years as captain of the Irish side. "It's appallingly sad," O'Driscoll said.
"We played an awful lot of games, he was very important to me.
"And then he became very important to me from a captaincy point of view.
"I was given the captaincy, probably in place of him when Keith Wood was injured prior to the World Cup in 2003 and I was chosen by Eddie (O'Sullivan).
"He could have thrown the toys out of the cot but he did anything but.
"He became a very important leader within the team, helping me along. I think that early relationship really benefited me in that we did have mutual respect."