CJ Stander dedicates historic win over New Zealand to Anthony Foley

The team formed a figure eight ahead before kick-off

CJ Stander revelling in Ireland's victory over the All Blacks

©INPHO/Dan Sheridan 

Ireland overcame a century long period of defeat to the All Blacks yesterday with a momentous victory in Chicago that turned out to be a fitting tribute to Munster legend Anthony Foley.

The shock of his passing continues to reverberate through the Irish rugby community and beyond but his spirit is clearly enveloping the players he coached.

Just days after he passed away, Munster paid the ultimate tribute to their fallen mentor with an outstanding win against Glasgow Warriors. And yesterday in Chicago, Ireland also drew inspiration from Foley's memory to go a few yards further than they did in 2013 and score a sensational win over New Zealand.

Speaking after the victory in Soldier Field, CJ Stander told the Irish Times about the impact Foley had on his career and explained the thinking behind the team's decision to assemble into a figure eight before kick-off.

“Yeah, dunno if you saw it, we made an eight, a figure of eight. We made a decision about that during the week. For me personally and Murray and all the Munster boys standing there it was big.

“Same as the Glasgow match we wanted to give something back to him and the family. He meant a lot to me and was really the rock in my rugby development these last four years. Showed me what he learned over the years.

“He pushed me to the next level.

“I just think of what man he was, the legend he was. What he gave to me as a rugby player. In that 60th minute when I got tired, I was just thinking: why am I playing this match? Who got me here. Everything he gave to me. That was massive for me.”