Munster to return to action after coach Foley’s death
LIMERICK: Munster will play its first rugby game since the sudden death of coach Anthony Foley when the Irish province takes on Glasgow in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.
Foley, who was 42, was found dead in the early hours of Sunday in a Paris hotel, ahead of a match against Racing 92 in the French capital that day. The match was canceled.
The prosecutor’s office in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, told The Associated Press yesterday that post-mortem tests on Foley showed “a heartbeat disorder probably led to fluid buildup in his lungs.” Foley’s funeral will be on Friday in his hometown of Killaloe, and Munster will return to action the following day at its Thomond Park ground. “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,” Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said yesterday. “That’s something that’s hugely important to all of us.
“He would never want us to say that the game is secondary - it’s just not the man he was but it will be. It’s all about Anthony, now, and this weekend, and will be for a long time.” Erasmus said Munster’s players “had so much respect for him that they are trying to get on with it,” adding: “That’s what drives us and makes us committed to get a proper performance out there.” Ireland and Munster flanker Peter O’Mahony broke down as he tried to put into words what the late coach meant to him and the club. “He was a man that wanted a Munster jersey win,” O’Mahony said. “I’m not going to do him justice here. It’s all the words I can say, to be honest.” Foley was a Munster great who represented Ireland 62 times.
Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend said Saturday’s match “is an occasion to remember Anthony ... a chance for everyone to show respect for what a great man he was.” The Nanterre prosecutor said further toxicological analysis has been ordered, in accordance with classic procedures, and that there was no sign of a break-in at his hotel room or of any lesions on his body. Foley’s remains were being flown back to Ireland and taken to the family home in Killaloe. — AP
File photo shows Keith Earls of Munster takes on Seremaia Bai during a match. Munster will play its first rugby game since the sudden death of coach Anthony Foley.