Bernard Foley has been the iceman for the last couple of seasons and now he is ready to become a leader.
Foley is one of the Waratahs who have had to step up this season in the absence of a swathe of veterans in the preseason, and it’s a transition that will ultimately benefit the Wallabies too.
The 26-year-old said his new mentoring was one he expected but also embraced, as well as focusing on taking his own game to the next level.
“Now it’s only appropriate that I do step up and hopefully shoulder that and there’s a great leadership squad and a number of players among the squad,” he said.
“I think with the coaching staff as well there’s a few coaches that are doing it for the first time and Daryl has really encouraged the leader groups or the experienced groups to shoulder a bit of that workload...and to give an insight to encourage the younger guys coming through, guys who are playing their first season of Super Rugby just what it takes and it’s something we love to do.
“It’s great to see the evolution of team, also now to be a part of that and help a couple of these young guys get their first experiences is something I take a lot of enjoyment from.”
Young backs David Horwitz and Andrew Kellaway have been two of those Foley has taken under his wing.
Foley is a linchpin in the Waratahs attack, his influence no more clearly seen than with his return from injury this year, one that coincided with a turn of form.
In fact, he is one of the greatest constants of the Waratahs, equalling Daniel Halangahu’s record 59 Super Rugby caps as NSW flyhalf on Saturday night against the Cheetahs.
His stint in the playmaking position has been a marked change from the string of 10s that came before him, with the side unable to create an anchor.
“I think growing up too there wasn’t that much consistency in the Waratahs number 10 jersey,” he said.
“It’s been of great fortune that I’ve been able to play a string of games there.
“In the Cheika era I was lucky enough to start almost every game there and I think I’ve been very fortunate with the guys around me who have really allowed me to do my role with the team because they’ve done so well as well.”