Funeral to be held for rugby coach Anthony Foley

Rugby coach Anthony Foley, who died suddenly at the weekend, will be laid to rest today after a funeral service in his hometown.

Stars of the game, past and present, are expected to turn out among large crowds who will pay their respects at St Flannan's Church, Killaloe in Co Clare.

Thousands filed patiently on Thursday evening to bid a final farewell to the Munster and Ireland great as his remains reposed in the church before spending a last night at the family home.

The Munster head coach died, aged 42, in the team hotel in Paris, just hours before his side were due to play Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup.

He is survived by his widow Olive and two young sons Tony and Dan.

Current Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best joined the throngs that descended on the small town on the River Shannon to say farewell.

Leinster, Ireland and Lions talisman Johnny Sexton also paid tribute along a number of his provincial team mates. Connacht coach Pat Lam also travelled.

Former Munster, Ireland and Lions star Keith Wood, a close friend of Foley, was among the first to queue outside the church on Thursday morning.

The family issued a statement to urge people to come to the church early, given the length of queues.

"The crowds attending today are as vast as we could have anticipated," it stated.

Foley died from a build-up of fluid on his lungs as a result of heart disease.