Foley eyes Wallabies debut v All Blacks
July 30, 2013
Bernard Foley says he is ready for Test rugby after his strongest Super Rugby season to date © Getty Images
Far from daunted, NSW Waratahs five-eighth Bernard Foley is hoping for a baptism of fire with a Wallabies debut against the world champion All Blacks next month.
Foley readily admits he's behind Queensland Reds playmaker Quade Cooper in new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie's five-eighth pecking order but, after leapfrogging the incumbent No.10, the 23-year-old is aiming high.
"It would be a dream to, one, play for the Wallabies. But to play against the All Blacks in Sydney, your home town, would be something really special," Foley said on Monday. "It's an opportunity you wouldn't want to miss or not be ready for. So everything now leading up to that Test, I'll be doing everything I can to be prepared so, if it does fall my way, I'll be ready for the job."
With McKenzie considering James O'Connor as a fullback or winger after his unsuccessful three-Test stint at five-eighth in Australia's series loss to the British and Irish Lions, Foley is in a three-way battle with Cooper and the Brumbies' Matt Toomua for the No.10 jumper for the Wallabies' Rugby Championship opener on August 17.
Cooper is favoured to get first crack, but that's not deterring Foley, who impressed playing all 16 Super Rugby games at No.10 for the Waratahs after making the transition from fullback to chief playmaker.
"It's great to be a part of the initial 40-man squad. It's good recognition and now everyone who's in that squad has the opportunity to pull on a Wallaby jersey. I'm not any different," Foley said. "It's going to be great competition between us and that's healthy for Australian rugby and heading into this Rugby Championship. It's exciting times."
Foley, a former Australian sevens star, will leave on Tuesday for the Waratahs' two-match tour of Argentina and will use Saturday's clash with the Pumas in Buenos Aires to boost his Wallabies claims.
"We're playing an international team in the Pumas and it's most probably going to be their full-strength side because it's preparation for them leading into the Rugby Championship," Foley said. "So it's a great test for me, another one, and if I can perform well, it will give me a lot of confidence and put me in good stead leading into the Wallabies camp next Tuesday."