Tuesday 24 April 2018

'The tough things got to us, the little things - Axel’s seat on the coach and in the dressing-room' - Rassie Erasmus

Simon Zebo of Munster after the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Simon Zebo of Munster after the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
CJ Stander of Munster acknowledges the supporters
David Kelly

David Kelly

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus praised his side after an emotion-charged 38-17 victory against Glasgow Warriors at a sold out Thomond Park.

And he vowed that Anthony Foley’s children, Tony and Daniel, would always be welcome in the Thomond park dressing-room after they formed an emotional post-match huddle with the squad for a rendition of “Stand Up and Fight”.

“I am relieved. This was unknown territory. We were not sure how we would react, the referee or the opposition. It was such a weird week, even in the warm-up I was unsure.

“But this morning, we decided the way we would play. I expected that they would come through with a performance but not in such a mature way after what happened to Anthony Foley. I am relieved.

22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; CJ Stander of Munster, who wore number 24 instead of the usual number 8 jersey retired on the day in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley, takes a moment before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster and Glasgow Warriors players observe a minutes silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster scrum coach Jerry Flannery, centre, flanked by players Peter McCabe, left, and man of the match Tyler Bleyendaal as they sing 'Stand Up And Fight' on the pitch after the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
CJ Stander, left, and Jaco Taute of Munster congratulate each other following their team's victory during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jaco Taute of Munster reacts at the final whistle following the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
CJ Stander of Munster wearing shirt number 24, after number 8 was retired for the match as a tribute to former Munster head coach Anthony Foley, makes his way off the field following the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster's Simon Zebo sheds a tear during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Antho ny Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Former Munster and Ireland player Paul O'Connell, left centre, with his son Paddy ahead the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster's Simon Zebo, left, sheds a tear as he stands alongside captain Peter O'Mahony during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Antho ny Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster players Conor Murray, left, Simon Zebo, centre, and captain Peter O'Mahony of Munster observe a minute's silence in memory of Munster head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, centre, ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster supporters wave their flags ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster supporters wave their flags ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster team manager Niall O'Donovan, left, and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus in conversation before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A view of the match programme before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A supporter adds a Munster Rugby jersey to the tribute, outside the Shannon RFC Club house, in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A supporter reads his the match programme before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Supporters queue to sign a 'Condolence book' in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Supporters queue to sign a 'Condolence book' in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A supporter photographs the Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster supporters read messages on flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, who died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A floral tribute from all the 'Glasgow Warriors Family' placed in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42.. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A detailed view of a Munster pennant ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Clermont Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A tribute in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A detailed view of a portrait of former Munster head coach Anthony Foley ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

“The tough things got to us, the little things, Axel’s seat on the coach and in the dressing-room. And the Irish people do things with so much emotion and I did not know how we would react.

“I am relieved and happy we could do this for Axel. We mentioned his name. We can’t win for Axel because what happens if you lose, but we can play the way he wanted us to play.

"If the game wasn’t for him, we would have postponed it. We played it for him.

“Around a tragic thing like this, you can’t find a silver lining. But it was a privilege to experience what we did here today. It was unreal and I include all Irish people in that. It was so personal and emotional and even more exaggerated when you get here.

"It was hard to think why you would want to be anywhere else than here.

“He would always bring his boys into the dressing-room, what happened at the end was spontaneous. It was awesome. If the family want us to bring them in again, we will do that.

“To play with 14 men, the guys for their effort in defence, we still have eight forwards so we needed to dominate in set-piece and that momentum got us through.

“We knew we would struggle on attack but the decisions from Peter got us through.

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