MUNSTER have begun an emotional week of preparation for Saturday’s rearranged Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir in Paris, 3.45pm Irish time.
The original fixture with the Top 14 champions was postponed as a result of the sudden death of head coach Anthony Foley in Paris in October.
Munster Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus said: “Emotionally, it’s the week that we remember Axel passing away. That will be a challenge for us.
“But we have had so many weird weeks in the past while where we have been sitting down on a Sunday wondering how we were going to tackle the next week.
“It started with the week of the funeral and all the deep discussion about whether we would or not play.
“So we have had to go on with everything and that is what we will keep on doing. So we will try not to do anything different this week and prepare as normal for a Saturday-Saturday build-up.
“We decided long ago that there are certain things we do in the team environment that we will do to commemorate him and there are also certain rugby targets within the team in terms of the way we play, the way we talk at video and training sessions.
“So we always try to incorporate that in everything we do, obviously that will be amplified this week but we will try to channel the emotions in the right directions.
It’s not an unspoken thing, it’s a constant thing. It’s different from every person to manager and medical staff and supporters, everyone had a different relationship to Axel.
“So we need to support one another to try to handle it on the best basis for you on an individual level and then collectively, as a team we know what we are trying to do since that day.
“We’re very much aligned with what we are trying to do on and off the field. So we will pretty much help each other to try to normalise it as much as possible.”