| 22.1°C Dublin

Tribute planned for Anthony Foley as Munster cup match gets go-ahead

Tournament organisers have announced that Munster's European Champions Cup pool game against Glasgow will be played as scheduled in Limerick on Saturday.

European Professional Club Rugby said the decision had been made "after close consultation with the Munster management."

Munster head coach Anthony Foley died at the team hotel in Paris last weekend before Munster's scheduled Champions Cup match against Racing 92, which was postponed as a result.

The 42-year-old's funeral will take place in County Clare on Friday.

In a statement, EPCR said: " EPCR can officially confirm that the Munster Rugby v Glasgow Warriors Champions Cup, Round 2 match will be played as scheduled at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 1300).

"The decision was made after close consultation with the Munster management.

"At this particularly difficult time following the passing of Anthony Foley, EPCR would like to once again convey its deepest sympathies to the Foley family and to everyone at Munster Rugby.

"EPCR has requested that a minute's silence or a minute's applause in Anthony's memory be observed at all Round 2 matches in the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup."

A French coroner said on Tuesday that Foley died due to a heart condition which led to a build-up of fluid in his lungs.

Former back-row forward Foley played 62 times for Ireland, led Munster to their first European Cup victory in 2006 and was central to the province's repeat success two years later.

Sport Newsletter

Get the best analysis and comment from our award-winning team of writers and columnists with our free newsletter.

This field is required

He scored 39 tries for his province and made 86 appearances in European competition before taking on backroom roles from 2009. He was named head coach in 2014.

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, speaking at a Munster press conference on Wednesday afternoon, was asked about the decision to play the match and the planned tribute for Foley.

He said: "We don't want to miss this opportunity for him.

"It's a tough choice. It's not easy either way but we don't want to miss this opportunity."

A funeral Mass for Foley on Friday takes place in St Flannan's Church in his home town of Killaloe, Co Clare.

Ireland and Munster back row Peter O'Mahony broke down as he tried to put into words what the late coach meant to him and the club.

He recalled Foley being as happy with the narrow win in his first game as a 60-point victory.

"He was a man that wanted a Munster jersey win," he said.

"I'm not going to do him justice here. It's all the words I can say to be honest."

Erasmus said: "Although an Irish and Munster rugby hero and a great friend of ours, this time it's about a husband, father, son and brother and a fallen friend. Let us not forget that."

The director of rugby said Thomond held a special place in 'Axel' Foley's heart.

"As difficult as it will be to play the next game no matter the time the opposition or the venue, we have an opportunity to play there this Saturday. That's something that's hugely important to all of us," he said.

Erasmus said playing at Thomond would tie people closer to Foley's memory and give players and fans to embrace that.

Erasmus said the match was going ahead but it would be second to everything else.

"He would never want us to say that the game is secondary, it's just not the man he was, but it will be," he said.

"It's all about Anthony, now, and this weekend and will be for a long time."

He added: "It's difficult. I know the players had so much respect for him that they are trying to get on with it , trying to do the job the way we think and know Anthony would want us to go on with it.

"That's what drives us and makes us committed to get a proper performance out there."

The Munster rugby boss called on fans to come out and back them on Saturday.

He said Foley was a good friend to him and someone who wore his heart on his sleeve.

"You don't have to think of a lot of nonsense to say about him. You knew exactly where you stood with him," he said. "He would do anything for his friends."

O'Mahony added: "The amount that we have lost now that he has gone is incredible - the rugby knowledge and brain, the man and the friend and coach and brother that we have lost. It's mad."

Erasmus said Foley's legacy for him personally was family, children and rugby.

Foley's remains were being flown back to Ireland and brought to the family home in Killaloe before reposing in St Flannan's during Thursday.

Most Watched