Back in 2016, Ireland faced the All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago. The first Test match since the untimely passing of Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley, the Irish faced the haka in a figure of eight formation, as a tribute to the late Munster and Ireland back-rower.

It was also the first time Ireland ever defeated the All Blacks, triumphing 40-29.

Well in 2023, in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup, the Irish once again stood in the figure of eight formation.

What also stood out in 2016 was how vocal the crowd was. With a heavy Irish presence in Paris, it perhaps comes as no surprise that the Fields of Athenry rang out around the Stade de France, while the All Blacks were performing their haka.

The tribute to Foley in 2016

Back in 2016, after the victory, then-No 8 CJ Stander explained that the players had planned the gesture to stand in a figure of eight formation during the week.

The former Munster star said: “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.”

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