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Munster captain Peter O'Mahony broke down as he paid tribute to Anthony Foley.
O'Mahony joined director of rugby Rassie Erasmus at a press conference at Munster's UL training base on Wednesday to speak about the head coach's sudden passing in Paris on Sunday morning.
Munster players have been trying to come to terms with Foley's death and O'Mahony was overcome by emotion as he paid tribute to 'the man, the coach and the friend'.
“My first game that he coached me at Munster was an U-20 game at Thomond Park, we won it 3-0 and that suited Axel as good as if we’d won it by 70. He wanted to win for Munster at any cost,” O'Mahony told reporters.
“I’m not going to do him justice here, personally he meant a huge amount. He’s been there, I haven’t supported a Munster team that he wasn’t involved in. The amount he’s given the club, it can’t be calculated.
“I was lucky he was in my position as well, the knowledge he could give to me. At times it was frustrating because he was such a good footballer, he found it difficult to understand that we couldn’t’ see what he could.
“The amount we’ve lost now that he’s gone, the rugby knowledge; the man, the coach and the friend, it’s huge.”
Saturday's Champions Cup match against Glasgow Warriors will go ahead as planned with the team set to continue their preparations around the funeral.
The Munster squad have been working towards the weekend's game since regrouping at UL on Tuesday and Erasmus has no doubt that the players will give their all for Foley.
“It’s been difficult for everyone, but for us it is inferior to his family,” Erasmus said. “We’re finding it tough, but there’s other people we must be thinking of at this time.
“He was a good friend, I know that there’s people who knew him longer than me. But he wore his heart on his sleeve, you knew exactly where you stood with him.
“Talking to a lot people who know him better, he would never want us to say the game is secondary. That’s not the man he was. But it will be, it will be about Anthony this weekend and for a long time.
“I think that’s the way we’d want to handle that. That’s the way Axel would want us to handle it.
“It would be, when I’m saying that I do it with all the respect in the world, it would be fitting for the fans to come and pay respects to Axel and give it their all for him, just as we will give our all for him.
“The rugby knowledge he had, me being here four months and he never missed anything. You could name a player or a move and he would have picked it up on video.
“It’s a tough choice, but it’s easy in a way. We don’t want to miss this opportunity.”