Super Rugby
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson mindful of Bernard Foley burnout
Sam Bruce
January 13, 2016
Waratahs looking for Foley back-up

NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson is happy with the attacking weapons he has at his disposal but admits the man most likely to pilot the ship is at risk of burnout.

Wallabies fly-half Bernard Foley is currently completing a post-Rugby World Cup sabbatical of sorts, having taken up the Australian Rugby Union's flexible contracting option with a stint at Japanese Top League club Ricoh Black Rams.

Having played Super Rugby, the Wallabies' domestic season and then all but one game of their World Cup run in 2015, Foley has endured a torrid 12 months in the frontline.

And just how Gibson reintegrates Foley into the NSW set-up upon his return to Sydney could have a make-or-break effect on the side's fortunes in the new era of Super Rugby.

"Yeah it's a concern, I think anyone who plays season to season will know that it's difficult," Gibson said on Wednesday afternoon.

"Certainly it's something that I'm very mindful of; the fact that he's got to go another 12 months, I guess, of playing.

"And until he gets back we won't sort of know what sort of condition he's in, and it would be nice to have a luxury where we could actually pull him out of rugby for a little bit."

Foley has two more games to come with Ricoh Black Rams before he contemplates a return to the Waratahs in early February, affording him around four weeks before the opening regular-season game against Queensland Reds in Sydney on February 27.

Bernard Foley is looking at an 18-month season at least © Getty Images
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It's far from the ideal situation for Gibson, who otherwise welcomed back the rest of his Wallabies' contingent last week, and one that has him looking both home and abroad for an extra No.10 option to join Kurtley Beale and Dave Horwitz.

"With Kurtley, he adds that versatility, I think he's very comfortable at 10, 12 or full-back," Gibson said of Beale.

"I think given the make-up of our squad we're really quite short of an understudy to Bernard Foley and we're looking at a number of options. So, hopefully they'll be named in the next week.

"We really want someone who's just a solid, good all-rounder."

Away from the playmaking hotseat, Gibson is content with the balance of his maiden Super Rugby squad.

The former All Blacks centre recruited New Zealander Zac Guildford and NRL winger Reece Robinson over the off-season and also promoted a number of rookies from the Waratahs development squad.

"I think our squad's a really interesting one this year because we've got a lot of seasoned pros, 23 from last year's squad, but we've also got a lot of young new faces in their first year of becoming a professional and really learning their trade," he said.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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