The late Anthony Foley who will be remembered at Saturday’s game
MEMBERS of the Munster Rugby Supporters Club have been “blown away” by the “phenomenal kindness” of Racing 92 fans who have offered to open up their Parisian homes to the Red Army travelling to Saturday’s rescheduled Champions Cup game.
The fixture was postponed after the passing of Munster coach Anthony Foley in October.
The rugby giant passed away hours before the game causing the rugby world to go into mourning.
“We are absolutely blown away by it. As a supporters club, we are deeply appreciative of the offer, we don’t even have the words to express our gratitude to Racing supporters,” explained Ian Buckley, secretary of Munster Rugby Supporters Club.
Prior to Christmas, the supporters club for the Paris-based rugby side compiled a list of their supporters who wish to offer accommodation in their homes to Munster supporters travelling to this Saturday’s game which kicks off at Stade Yves-du-Manoir at 3.45pm, Irish time. This is in order to do what they can to lessen the cost for Munster fans returning to Paris after the outlay of the original fixture.
In turn, the Munster Rugby Supporters Club Committee made contact with members of their club who have purchased tickets for the game through the club “to marry up persons who wish to avail of this caring and touching gesture”.
A number of people, Ian said, have taken up the offer.
Members of the committee who are travelling to the game are to meet up with some of the host families to personally thank them, and Munster Rugby have given them a signed team jersey to present to their supporters club as a thank you from all the members of the MRSC.
“When the offer came in from Racing we, as a committee, were absolutely blown away by it,” said Ian.
“It’s different to being put up in a hotel - to invite us into their homes shows the whole human side to it and it brought home to us how much respect that people had in world rugby for Axel for a start and then for Munster fans as well,” Ian continued.
“One of our representatives will be going over and presenting a signed shirt to our counterparts in Racing on Saturday. We believe from Racing’s side that they are trying to get as many people as they can from both sides to welcome in both teams into the stadium on Saturday. It’s in the early stages but hopefully it will work out.”
“The fact of the matter is that if people hadn’t been aware of how Munster fans behave themselves when they are abroad or even at home, then such an offer wouldn’t have come about. It’s testament to how those supporters carry themselves when they are abroad that such an offer would even be considered.”
Everyone’s thoughts on the day, Ian said, will be with the late Anthony’s wife Olive and their two boys Tony and Dan.
“The thing about Anthony is he would want us to win the match and our lads will think of that - once the game kicks off, it will be business as usual and after it they will be reflecting on events.”
In is anticipated that up to 1,000 Munster supporters will travel to Saturday’s game - an estimated 2,000 travelled to the fixture in October.