Foley, Wallabies must overcome huge travel toll

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

The Wallabies face one of the toughest tasks in world rugby this week, travelling from South Africa to Argentina in search of a win against the Pumas.

The Australians have already caught five flights in the past week and it will be seven by the time they arrive in Mendoza, having clocked more than 20,000 kilometres.

That takes a serious drain on the body but flyhalf Bernard Foley believes a win in Mendoza is non-negotiable after two draws against the Springboks in the past month.

"For sure, winning away from home is such a tough thing to do especially Test match rugby and you see all the factors, the travel, the hospitality here is not always great but you just love it," Foley said.

"That is the thrill and enjoyment (you get) out of Test match rugby and playing away from home.


"Argentina is going to be exactly that, the same challenge. It’s a tough place to win.

"There’s all these variable but something that as a squad we’ve got to enjoy and embrace.

"It’s unique because everyone is against you and it’s just you with 30 players and 10 staff or whatever it is.

"It’s everyone sitting in that room and being satisfied with what we had just achieved.

"We’re close but it’s disappointing because we can’t get that satisfaction just yet."Bernard Foley and the Wallabies don't feel far off a big win. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe Wallabies do feel agonisingly close to a big win.

The acid test will come against New Zealand in Brisbane on October 21 but a sixth straight win against the Pumas would get the ball rolling again after the draw in Bloemfontein.

Any win will be off the back of the attack Foley and Kurtley Beale have turned into an unpredictable yet relentless machine.

It goes without saying that the All Blacks have scored more points (221) than any other team in The Rugby Championship but the Wallabies are second with 158, including 34 and 29 point efforts against the Kiwis.

"We’ve got to put it down to a lot of the coaches," Foley said.

"Bernie’s influence in terms of how he sees the game and what he’s coming up with, his vision on his set plays and then also Mick Byrne.Foley has slotted his last 20 shots at goal. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"He’s been really good in terms of the skill and also the mind.

"That where we can take our game to the next.

"At the moment we’ve got that balance and we’ve got that thirst and that hunger to do that and I think we’ve just got to keep persisting with it."

Where the Wallabies impressed against the Boks was their versatility in attack.

Foley had three try assists, two of those coming from unstructured play and one coming from a set piece play.

"We played a lot of turnover ball or kicking - we got into that kick battle and then were running off the back of kicks," Foley said.

"It wasn't that structured game in that sense and I thought our intent, especially from deep, was something that was really positive.

"That's definitely a growth area for us, something that we've been working on and it's good to see it come into fruition.

"I suppose when we are getting down in those other parts of the field it's about keeping composure and getting those points."

The Wallabies take on the Pumas in Mendoza on Sunday morning, kicking off at 9:40am AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.