In Depth

Rugby mourns death of Munster coach Anthony Foley

Racing 92 clash postponed after former Irish international is found dead in Paris at age of 42

Rugby fans and players around the world are in mourning after the sudden death of Munster head coach Anthony Foley.

The former Ireland skipper was found dead at the team hotel in Paris ahead of the game against Racing 92, which was immediately postponed.

"The 42-year-old rugby legend is suspected of having suffered a heart attack and is believed to have been pronounced dead at the hotel," reports the Daily Mail.

"He was found in his room at the hotel in Paris on Sunday morning after he failed to turn up to a pre-arranged meeting ahead of the European tie."

The cause of death has not been officially confirmed. "French judiciary police may request a post-mortem examination, which could last up to seven days," reports the Daily Telegraph.

Foley, who leaves a wife and two children, played more than 200 times for Munster between 1995 and 2008 and won 62 caps for Ireland.

The back row "was a central figure in the club's rise to become champions of Europe in 2006, when he captained the side to their Heineken Cup victory over Biarritz", says The Times.

Foley joined the Munster coaching staff after retiring from playing. He became the forwards coach in 2011 and took over as head coach in 2014, retaining the title after Rassie Erasmus took over as director of rugby at the start of the current season.

Munster fans in Paris gathered outside the gates of that night's venue, the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, to stage "an impromptu wake", adds the Times, "hanging flags, scarves and shirts on the stadium's main gates.

"A group of fans were allowed into the ground to lay flowers on the pitch, while outside others sang There is an Isle, the traditional Munster song." There was also a rendition of the Irish and Munster sporting anthem The Fields of Athenry.

Irish President Michael D Higgins said Foley was "regarded with great respect and deep affection not just among the Munster rugby fans, but by all those interested in Irish sports".

Former teammate Keith Wood said: "There is a huge shock around the country for a young man to fall in his pomp but also the fact that he would have touched a huge amount of lives."

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