"He was a real institution" - Australia coach Michael Cheika remembers Anthony Foley

Cheika coached Ireland from 2005 to 2010

"He was a real institution" - Australia coach Michael Cheika remembers Anthony Foley

Michael Cheika. Mandatory Credit: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Even on the far side of the world, Anthony Foley's death has caused shock and sadness in the rugby community.

Such was the reputation of the Munster and Ireland star, Australia coach Michael Cheika paid tribute to the 42-year-old, ahead of Australia's Bledisloe Cup game with New Zealand this weekend. Cheika was Leinster's coach from 2005 to 2010, and would have faced Foley on numerous occasions.

“I would be lying if I didn't admit that's swirled around in my head all morning, when you wake up to news like that,” he told the Wallabies' official website.

“It's hard to believe, to be honest.

“He's a guy who I would've competed as a coach when he was Munster captain, competed heavily against and when you compete against someone and you earn respect for them from competition it shows that there's a special person behind that and it's really tragic.”

“He was captain of Ireland as well for a while, well-capped player and a real institution over there and...as a colleague as well, as head coach for a team, that's really sad.”

In 2015, Australia's captain Stephen Moore turned down the chance to join Munster after the World Cup. He also paid tribute to Foley.

“He's leaving behind a young family but also a tremendous legacy for what he did for rugby in Ireland and for Munster, so he'll be remembered fondly for that.”