CLERMONT FORWARDS COACH Jono Gibbes said that his club’s supporters are organising a tribute to Anthony Foley tomorrow in France because of the huge respect they have for him and Munster.
Gibbes, who got to know Foley when he was Leinster forwards coach for six years, said that the death of the former Ireland number eight had stunned France and the rugby world.
Team Jaune & Bleu, the Clermont Auvergne supporters’ club, have organised a tribute to Foley ahead of their Champions Cup clash with Bordeaux-Bégles at Stade Marcel Michelin tomorrow [KO 3.15pm Irish time, Sky Sports 3 - red button].
Munster and Clermont have built up a healthy rivalry and have clashed seven times in Europe.
Clermont’s supporters’ club want their fans to wear Munster colours for tomorrow’s game and they have emailed around the Munster crest to be printed off and brought to the game by fans who don’t have jerseys or scarves.
“People are shocked by his death and it is such a massive tragedy for his family, especially someone so young,” said Gibbes.
Two years ago, in Foley’s first season in charge, Clermont and Munster fans marched from the centre of the French city to the stadium in a wonderful parade before they did battle in the Champions Cup.
Gibbes was a key figure in Leinster’s golden era, winning three Heineken Cup titles, three Pro12 crowns and an European Challenge Cup success during his six years working with Michael Cheika and Joe Schmidt before he moved to Clermont in 2014.
He will never forget the rivalry with Munster in that time, one which was based on mutual respect.
“I think of Croke Park in the semi-final of the Heineken Cup in 2009 and the crowd of over 82,000 who went to it because of the Munster and Leinster rivalry,” said Gibbes.
“That rivalry existed because of what Axel had achieved with Munster before then.
“His presence will be felt for many years to come and our deepest sympathy goes to his family.”
The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!