'I know he meant the world to them, he meant the world to me' - Stander

Dan and Tony Foley joined the Munster players on the pitch after the win over Glasgow.

THE RUGBY WAS spectacular, but this day was about so much more than Munster’s game against Glasgow.

Seeing Dan and Tony Foley come onto the pitch afterwards pressed that point home, underlining that, while Munster gave everyone a day to remember, there are tough times ahead for Anthony’s family.

Tony and Dan Foley, sons of the late Anthony Foley sing with the Munster players after the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Munster didn’t plan to bring Anthony’s sons onto the pitch to sing ‘Stand Up and Fight’, but it felt like the right thing to do, given how present they have been in recent years. The province hope to continue the tradition for the foreseeable future.

“He would always have them in the dressing room after games, he would bring them in,” said Munster’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus after the five-try win.

As long as we can do that and it’s comfortable for them and the family, we would like to do that.

“It was more spontaneous what happened on the field, there was nothing planned around that afterwards. It’s just the way things panned out, which is pretty awesome.”

The Munster players were thrilled to be able to share the special moment with Dan and Tony.

“My heart is with Olive, Dan and Tony,” said CJ Stander. “It was great to see them on the pitch, it was massive.

I think everyone deals with emotion differently during the week and I wasn’t really emotional, crying, but I felt the loss inside me. When I saw the two boys walking onto the pitch, that’s when I broke down.

“The next few days and next few years are going to be tough for them and they’re going to miss a big man in their life, their father. I feel so sorry for their loss. I know he meant the world to them, he meant the world to me.

“It was great to see them on the pitch today.”

Simon Zebo shakes the hand of Dan Foley, son of the late Anthony Foley Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Doing Foley proud was the only thing that mattered to Munster and having achieved that with a 38-17 win, Erasmus said there was a sense of release.

“Relieved, because there was an unknown about this week,” said the South African.

“The territory that we got into during this week, with the circumstances and the different things that happened, we were not sure how I, myself, would react, how the team would react, even how the opposition and referee would react.

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“It was just such a weird week, which you can’t really prepare for. Even with the warm-up, I wasn’t really sure what we were going to get out of this.

“But we had a good chat last night and this morning about what we were going to try to achieve, not even result-wise but more the way we wanted to play.

“I was expecting that that would come through, but not in such a mature way. For the players to do it so quickly after something tragic, what happened to Axel, so I’m relieved, I’m relieved.”

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Murray Kinsella

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