NEW Zealand head coach Steve Hansen paid tribute to Munster’s late head coach Anthony Foley at the start of an All-Black press briefing in Chicago this Thursday.
Hansen was speaking at the announcement of his starting line-up to face Ireland in their autumn international at Soldier Field, Chicago on Saturday, 8pm Irish time.
Hansen said: “We haven’t had the opportunity and we have Irish people here, we’d like to convey a message of sympathy and best wishes to the Foley family on the death of Anthony.
“It was a tragedy and one that was felt right throughout the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Munster Heineken Cup winning captain Foley passed away suddenly in Paris less than three weeks ago aged just 42.
Former number eight Foley had played for Ireland against the All-Blacks on three occasions.
Hansen added: “I didn’t know him that well but when you’re in the game as long as we’ve been we certainly knew he was a good player.
“The All Blacks played against him on a couple of occasions. His coaching, he’s coaching a Kiwi boy there (New Zealanders Francis Saili, Tyler Bleyendaal and Rhys Marshall) are with Munster) and they’re good mates and there’s a lot of respect for him.”