Bernard Foley praised for taking charge

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants his fly halves to control the game and that’s exactly what Bernard Foley did on Saturday night.

Scoring 28 of the Wallabies’ 33 points - the highest individual total against England at Twickenham - was just the tip of Foley’s cool-headed performance.

The number 10 jersey has been hotly contested in the Wallabies side and Foley staked his claim as the first choice more emphatically than he has ever done before.

As well as his points tally ,Foley directed the attack in a frenetic first half and would have been

Cheika said he was pleased with the way Foley took charge of the match .

“What we’re asking of both Bernard and Quade as our two number 10s is to take control of the game especially in the tough moments and both of them are really growing in that regard,” he said.

“Bernard was very influential. I know he got points but also in the way he stood up to take responsibility.

"It wasn't always brilliant but that stepping up to take responsibility and being prepared to drive the team around, he and Quade have really been working hard on that together.”

Cheika said the support provided by the rest of the backline was also valuable.

“It’s helped having Matt Giteau, Matt Toomua in those positions even though Toomua ended up a bit wider than we expected tonight.

“On the inside there’s Will Genia and Nick Phipps helping them but it’s up to them (the tens) to quarter-back the team and tonight Bernard did that quite well.”

Foley was quick to play down the individual aspects of his performance, deflecting praise back on to his team.

"I was lucky to be on the end of some really good team structure,” he said.

“The work rate was world-class and it's very satisfying to get that result against such a quality side."

Foley rated the win as one of the Wallabies’ best.

"We wanted to put in a performance to make Australians proud, and we delivered,” he said.

“It's definitely up there and we can take a lot of confidence out of that for next week (the match against Wales).

"We knew what they had to play for, and if we could start well they would have to chase the game and it would be a tougher ask.

“That lead was invaluable.”

That Foley found some form with the boot in a perfect seven-from-seven could be a major confidence boost heading into next Saturday’s game against Wales.

His Welsh counterpart Dan Biggar has more than proven himself a worthy Leigh Halfpenny replacement, with super accurate kicking.