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Ryan Byrne/INPHO Anthony Foley and Rassie Erasmus in 2016.
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'I’ll keep my promise' - Rassie Erasmus to visit Anthony Foley's grave with World Cup medal
The former Munster director of rugby plans to visit Killaloe when the Springboks come to Ireland next month.

RASSIE ERASMUS SAYS he intends to fulfil a promise made following South Africa’s Rugby World Cup victory in 2019 by bringing his medal to Anthony Foley’s grave when the Springboks visit Ireland in November.

Erasmus was in his first year as director of rugby at Munster when head coach Anthony Foley passed away suddenly in October 2016.

In the midst of that tragedy, the South African helped steer the province to the Pro12 final and Champions Cup semi-final that season. He departed Munster in November of the following year to join the Springboks, leading his home country to World Cup success at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Following the World Cup final defeat of England, Erasmus said he would bring his medal to Foley’s grave in Killaloe, County Clare, the next time he visited Limerick.

And speaking during a Springboks press conference today, Erasmus outlined his intention to see that promise through next month. The Springboks take on Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on 5 November, while a South Africa XV will play Munster in Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh on 10 November.

“What Munster did to me on a coaching level, not just the people but the players and the assistant coaches, and when Axel passed away, the way I hopefully grew as a person and understood people better, because I maybe wasn’t great at it, I’m maybe average at it now… I’ll certainly make a plan, I’ll meet up with Anthony’s sister,” Erasmus said.

“Hopefully, Jerry [Flannery] will be there if he’s not with Harlequins and he and Felix [Jones] will definitely try.

“I’ll definitely keep my promise. Axel played a big part in those short, few months. It was tough times for us when we started out, but we ended as close friends and I love the Munster people and the Irish people.”

Erasmus is due to take charge of the South Africa A side for the Munster fixture, and confirmed there will be “some big names” in his squad.

“The first thing is that the decision to play against Munster… I wouldn’t say I’d a lot of influence there, but I do know that Munster has a history of really putting it up to international sides.

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“The All Blacks lost to them, they beat the New Zealand Maori. I know how passionate and respectful the Munster crowd are, so for our South African A side going there, and there will be some of the guys actually in the Test match group of 34 that will be there. There will be some big names playing in that game against Munster.

“That’s exciting, it’s going to be a sell-out crowd.”

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