Australian rugby
Foley looms as Wallabies' fly-half solution
ESPN Staff
September 22, 2013
The Waratahs' Bernard Foley celebrates the match-winning penalty against the Blues, New South Wales Waratahs v Blues, Super Rugby, Allianz Stadium, March 24, 2013
Bernard Foley enjoyed an excellent Super Rugby season for the Waratahs © Getty Images

Bernard Foley embarks on his first Wallabies tour on Monday and the fly-half's attributes his rise to national squad selection to a phone call he received two years ago.

The New South Wales Waratahs No. 10 was captain of Australia's Sevens side when he was contacted by Waratahs assistant Scott Bowen prior to their 2011 Super Rugby elimination final in Auckland.

"He said 'You're flying to Auckland, we need you for the final'," Foley told The Daily Telegraph. "I hadn't played much XVs for two years before that. A few words those guys said before and after the game really lit the fire. I remember sitting there in awe of their passion. We didn't get the job done, but for me it ignited something. I only got eight or 10 minutes on the field, but looking back, that was the turning point. I got the drive."

Foley could be Ewen McKenzie's long-term solution to the troublesome fly-half position, having produced some outstanding performances in both attack and defence in Super Rugby and Shute Shield this season. Foley knows playing international rugby will be a massive step up but is not daunted by the prospect.

"It is driving me to be a better player, hopefully to get an opportunity to finally wear that gold jersey," he said. "Whether it is on this trip, or later down the road, I will be grateful to get the opportunity. Growing up as a kid it is something I always aspired to, in the backyard with my brothers and sisters, lots of touch footy games at lunchtimes, and now to be so close is very exciting. But in saying that, it has been a dream for a long time so when I get that opportunity I want to be ready and take it with both hands."

Foley led Super Rugby's regular season statistics for try assists and line-breaks and is already looking ahead to realising the potential of his young Wallabies team-mates at the 2015 IRB World Cup.

"We're two years away from the World Cup, hopefully with another couple of Super Rugby seasons and hopefully some Wallabies experience it can put you in good stead for building this group forward at the World Cup," Foley said. "To get an opportunity to play in a World Cup would be pretty exciting, just to be involved with this squad. With the depth and youth here at the moment, in another two years it could be very exciting times."

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