Foley focused on the basics

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

For Bernard Foley rugby is about the basics, not the miracles.

He has pulled out some stand out plays through the World Cup, including a last-gasp penalty against Scotland but Foley’s focus has quickly returned to improving for Sunday’s semi-final.

“For me, it’s the basic preparation, improving my game in my running, my kicking and my basic skills because that’s what the game comes down to,” he said.

“It’s not that you have to pull out a miracle play or do something special, you’ve just got to be more consistent and that will turn you into a better player.

That attitude is embodied whenever Foley is asked about his individual achievements, with the 26-year-old quick to deflect to his teammates’ efforts.

Even on goal kicking, Foley said he was simply grateful to the team to put him in a position to convert a chance, whether it be a try or a penalty.

“For me it’s just doing it for the team," he said.

“What’s what my job is in the team is to kick those goals and they’re not always going to go over but at the same time you want to be able to be in a position to capitalise on opportunities for the team.

“I think it’s just reward for the effort and the hard work that this team has put in.”

Foley has staked his strongest claim yet on Australia’s number 10 jersey, through a tournament punctuated with a superb individual performance against England before the knock out stages.

Despite that, he has never been lured into any belief that he has any long-term hold on the playmaking position.

“For me it’s not that I’ve earned the right for this jersey for every game, it’s just earning it for the next game,” he said.

“That’s all I want to do every time I put on that jersey is to do my job for the team, to do what is asked of me and then to be able to represent the team the next time and again do the job.

“I think for this tournament I’ve been happy with my performances but what’s more I’ve been satisfied with how the team has gone about it.

“It’s probably put myself in a really good position and the team working so well has made my job a lot easier.”

Wallabies kicking coach Chris Malone said on Wednesday that Foley’s standout tournament had been borne out of the competition for squad spots.

“We’ve got some quality players and one of the great things about this squad particularly is there’s a lot of great depth,” he said.

“People are pushing hard to play and people have had to .You’ve had to step up and deliver otherwise you’re probably not in the team.

While Malone said Foley had a natural confidence in him, the “Ice Man” said he drew from the coaching staff’s faith as much as his own.

“The confidence from the entire coaching staff and then the squad that they’re able to stick with you definitely grows on to me,” he said.

“That they’ve got that preparation that we’ve done in the past, that consistency and the knowledge that they’re going to commit to it allows me in my role just to stay natural at it and do what I know I’ve got to do.”