Super Rugby
Waratahs fly-half Bernard Foley to face competition for No.10 jersey
ESPN Staff
February 10, 2016
© Cameron Spencer/Getty Images for BMW

Wallabies fly-half Bernard Foley is aware he will have to fight to earn back the Waratahs No.10 jersey after he missed the Waratahs pre-season with a sabbatical in Japan.

Foley will face competition from fellow Wallaby Kurtley Beale to win back the coveted playmaker role with Beale likely to play there in Friday's trial.

"Taking that 10 jersey off him [Beale] might be tough, but I think that's exciting going into that environment," Foley said. "The exciting thing at the Waratahs is we've got great competition, with KB playing in the 10 jersey, we've got the likes of Bryce Hegarty there as well, it's going to be a great competition, and it's good, healthy competition for the Waratahs."

The first Wallaby on a flexible contract to have an overseas sabbatical, Foley admitted he did feel he was on the back-foot heading back into the Waratahs camp.

"Yeah I think so, just popping in today and seeing how the guys are, there's a really good excitement and their eager to play games," he said. "Now we're coming into a new era at the Waratahs under Darryl Gibson and the players in there have changed dramatically. I was in there today and it was an exciting atmosphere to be around, and I think in that regard I'm quiet refreshed to go into a new program."

Foley will miss the Waratahs' second trial on Friday, in order to have a short break, but is scheduled to make his return in their final trial against the Highlanders in Queenstown the following week, giving Beale an opportunity to shine in the 10 jersey.

Speaking at training on Wednesday, Beale said he was happy to take any chance to impress at fly-half.  

"I've told him [Gibson] I will be keen to play there [five-eighth] if Bernard's not there. Otherwise, I'll be open to any position he wants to put me in," Beale said. "I consider myself very adaptive and I'll take the opportunity wherever it comes.

"When I get that first crack either at 10, 12, 15, from there on, it's just about trying to nail that position down pat."

With only four weeks off in between his stint at Japanese club Ricoh Black Rams and by the time he plays in the Waratahs' final trial, focus will be on whether Foley may suffer from player burnout, but the 26-year-old expressed he has no fear potential physical fatigue.

"We definitely did speak of monitoring and having a communication throughout the season and Daryl has been very open in discussions with me," Foley said. "I suppose it's for me to identify if I'm not feeling that spark or having a bit of a lull physically.

"At the moment, we haven't spoken of a contingency plan but I think I'd be raring to go."

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