Munster have announced that Saturday’s champions cup match against Glasgow Warriors will go ahead as scheduled on Saturday.
The difficult decision was made by Munster despite concerns of a second postponement following the tragic loss of coach Anthony Foley.
Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus released a statement today and in it he offered his and the squad’s condolences to Foley’s family.
He asked everyone not to forget that although a Munster legend Foley was primarily “a husband and a father, a son and a brother, and a fallen friend.”
Alongside a visibly shaken Munster captain Peter O’Mahony, Erasmus talked about how special Thomond Park was to Foley, and how the opportunity to play there was “hugely important and cannot be easily dismissed.”
The size of the media presence at the high performance centre showed how this story, the loss of Foley is international.
Instead of the usual questions about home advantage and Munster’s chances of escaping the group O’Mahony and Erasmus had to try keep their emotions in check as they discussed their fallen comrade.
For O’Mahony it was too much. The first question posed to him was about the difficulty of focusing on Glasgow: “I suppose. It all seems a bit trivial.”
O’Mahony has lost more than just a coach with Foley’s passing he’s lost a hero, a mentor and most importantly a friend.
Rassie Erasmus statement in full:
“On behalf of the squad I would like to offer our sincere condolences to the Foley and Hogan families, in particular Olive, the two boys Tony & Dan, Axel’s parents Brendan & Sheila & sisters Orla & Rosie. Our thoughts continue to be with them, Axel’s extended family, and close circle of friends at this time.
“Although an Irish and Munster rugby hero, and a great friend of ours, this time is about a husband and a father, a son and a brother, and a fallen friend. Let us all not forget that.
“From a Munster Rugby point of view we wish to acknowledge and thank those that have expressed their sympathies and thoughts with us during this time and thank everyone for their thoughtful considerations – it has been quite overwhelming and is testament to Axel himself that we are hearing from all corners of the world, across all sports and walks of life. The great man touched so many hearts.
“One’s life is greater than any sport or sporting occasion, however Thomond Park held a special place in Axel’s heart, and as difficult as it will be to play the next game, no matter the time, opposition and venue, we have an opportunity to play there this Saturday; that is something that is hugely important to all of us and cannot be easily dismissed.”
Playing in Thomond Park further ties us to his memory and will be a chance for all, including our supporters and the community, to feel that connection and closeness to him at this time.
The Munster squad gathered in the High Performance Centre at UL yesterday in working and planning towards Saturday.
At an extremely difficult time for the club and all its employees they must now balance their grief with the difficult task of beginning their champions cup campaign against an in form Glasgow side.
The Champions Cup game against Glasgow Warriors will take place at Thomond Park on Saturday at 1pm.