Sunday 26 January 2020

Munster yet to determine if Saturday's match with Glasgow Warriors will go ahead

Munster have started tentative preparations for Saturday's Champions Cup match with Glasgow Warriors but are yet to determine whether to stage the clash as scheduled.

Head coach Anthony Foley's death aged just 42 led Sunday's round-one Champions Cup meeting with Racing 92 in Paris to be postponed.

The Thomond Park province have since installed the concerns of former Ireland number eight Foley's immediate family as their top priority.

So while players and coaches met on Tuesday at their University of Limerick base, Munster continued to refrain from a firm decision about whether to play Saturday's match at Thomond Park.

"The Munster squad gathered in the high performance centre at UL today in working and planning towards Saturday's Champions Cup encounter with Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park," read a Munster statement.

"The squad are following a modified schedule this week with players and management yesterday signing books of condolence at Thomond Park, Irish Independent Park and at other locations across the province in memory of their colleague and friend Anthony Foley.

"The thoughts of Munster Rugby players, management and staff remain with the Foley and Hogan families and assisting them at this time continues to be the priority. Funeral arrangements are yet to be finalised, and details will follow once in place."

Munster have provisionally planned a press conference for Wednesday, where director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and captain Peter O'Mahony will pay further tribute to Foley, nicknamed fondly in rugby circles as 'Axel' after Eddie Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop character.

French authorities are continuing their investigations after Foley was found dead at Munster's team hotel ahead of Sunday's Champions Cup clash with Racing in Paris.

Tributes have poured in from across the rugby world to laud the 62-cap back-rower who excelled for both Ireland and Munster in a top-level career running from 1995 to 2008.

Munster moved to postpone their A team British and Irish Cup fixture against Doncaster Knights on Saturday.

European tournament organisers are understood to respect the wishes of both Munster and Foley's family while decisions are ongoing regarding Saturday's Champions Cup match against Glasgow.

Munster also offered thanks to a host of those who helped in the aftermath of Foley's death at the weekend.

Munster's statement continued: "Following on from Sunday's initial statement Munster Rugby would like to additionally thank the following parties for their assistance on the day, the staff of the Novotel Suresnes Longchamp Hotel, the local police and emergency services in Paris, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason and her staff at the Irish Embassy, Aer Lingus support staff at Charles de Gaulle Airport and Declan Keane and his team at the Dublin Airport Authority.

"At an extremely difficult time, Munster Rugby could not be more grateful for the consideration and compassion shown from the wider community in the past few days and it is most appreciated at this time.

"Meanwhile, with the Munster A squad scheduled for an away British and Irish Cup fixture against Doncaster Knights on Saturday, the decision has been made to postpone the fixture with a rescheduled date to be announced in due course.

"Munster Rugby thank Doncaster Knights and the British and Irish Cup for their understanding and help at this time."

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