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The Ridiculous Stat Which Best Illustrates Anthony Foley's Supreme Rugby Brain

The Ridiculous Stat Which Best Illustrates Anthony Foley's Supreme Rugby Brain
By Conor Neville Updated
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In the tributes which have flowed in since yesterday, Anthony Foley's phenomenal rugby brain has been a constant theme. What he lacked in athleticism, he made up for in shrewdness and game intelligence.

This is a principal reason why teams who had Foley at No. 8 - whether it was Shannon in the AIL, Munster from the mid-90s to the late noughties, or even Ireland in the early noughties - won so many more games than they lost.

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On Newstalk today, George Hook declared that "in rugby terms, he was Albert Einstein." The stat which perhaps best illustrates Foley's incredible rugby brain was recalled on RTE's News at One today.

Peter O'Reilly, Sunday Times rugby writer and a collaborator on Anthony Foley's autobiography, told the show about Foley's lack of generosity when it came to giving penalties away to the opposition.

To the naked eye, he wasn't the most athletic No. 8, necessarily, he knew the game inside out. While I dealt with him, he was able to tell me the name of the referee who gave him the one yellow card he received in his professional career. He could tell you every single penalty that was ever given against him. There were only five in his entire career.

In a very lengthy career, Foley only conceded five penalties. Astonishing numbers for a back row. We're sure we've seen single games where Donncha O'Callaghan gave away five penalties (only joking).

For Foley to only conceded five penalties in a very long career is astonishing.

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Read more: Tears In 2006, Tears Today: What It Was Like To Grow Up In Killaloe Worshiping Anthony Foley

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