Anthony Foley’s family moved by Irish squad's figure 8 gesture

Irish fans celebrate the victory.
Irish fans celebrate the victory.

Anthony Foley’s family have said how moved they were by the 23-man Irish squad facing the New Zealand Haka in the figure 8 last night.

The Ireland team formed a figure of eight during the All Blacks' Haka, putting the Munster players to the fore as a mark of respect to the recently departed former back-row who won 62-caps for his country and passed away three weeks' ago.

Ireland beat the world champions following the tribute with an outstanding performance at Chicago.

The number 8 is synonymous with “Axel” Foley’s career at the back of the scrum, and the poignant memorial set the tone for an unforgettable Irish performance in Chicago resulting in the historic 40-29 win.

In a post on the Axel Foley Memorial Page on Facebook on Sunday morning, the Foley family stated: “To say that we were touched by how Ireland faced the New Zealand haka, drawing inspiration from the No. 8, would be an understatement. Ironically, 15 years ago, Anthony played for Ireland against and lost to New Zealand on a score of . . . 40-29. Last night’s Irish response to the Haka was incredible remembrance.”

 “Today is our second #8masses4no8 Sunday and we’ll be remembering Anthony and all who have gone before us by lighting our candle. We will also dedicate it as thanks to Anthony’s former colleagues for this special moment, for his life and for the lives of all others who have gone before us, and to all for their support.

“Today is, of course, a special Sunday – the first Sunday in that month dedicated to remembering those who have gone before us. We’ll be lighting our candle this morning, please join us and do so for your loved ones also.”

The page was set up by Foley’s son, Tony, after he returned home from theMunster versus Glasgow Warriors game, where the players and fans united in remembering the Munster legend.