No preseason promises from Waratahs

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs won’t be making any grandiose statements in Super Rugby preseason, as they look to turn around recent mediocre seasons.

Waratahs players have spoken plenty in the preseason about putting a grim 2017 behind them, in a new training base with a handful of new faces among the squad and in the coaching staff.

Foley said they wouldn't waste time making preseason promises, instead hoping to prove a point on-field.

Bernard Foley is in doubt for the Waratahs-Crusaders game. Photo: Getty Images"Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, so there's definitely been a change with how we're approaching it," he said.

“I think everyone is really excited about what's coming up (but) you can't promise results.

“We don't want to go out there and say a lot about the new, up and coming season but what we can promise is the work is being done and in the intent I'm sure the guys are right on point.

“Since we've been back I can see a real purpose amongst this team, there's a real dedication to the cause and more commitment to improving, to being better and working at their craft.

“It's been really exciting and really enjoyable to come back in this last week and to see the team really committed to the purpose.”

Though they have in the past had a stack of Wallabies among their side, this year the superstar status more comfortably belongs south of the border, at the Rebels.

Foley wasn’t fazed who punters would be talking about in the run into the season.

“I think as a team we can't involve ourselves with external pressure or external nerves,” he said.

“This team is really committed to a purpose and we're not going to let any outside factors upset that.”

“We know how we're going to mark ourselves and that's probably what we're committed to at the moment.”

Bernard Foley is ready for the biggest test of the year. Photo: Getty ImagesWith less than a month until the first Australian Super Rugby matches, Foley said the focus should be on a strong Australian conference.

“We probably underperformed last year, and all the teams training really hard and pushing each other is going to be great for Australian rugby and what we want is a strong Australian conference.

“I think we can really see that in the depth that's been provided through all squads now and especially in this squad here and seeing some of the guys who are really pushing for positions, is something that is really pleasing and something that hopefully builds a great Australian conference and a better Wallabies side.”

Foley, skipper Michael Hooper and centre Kurtley Beale all returned to Waratahs training this week, though it wasn’t exactly an extended holiday for the trio, who have been doing their own gym work before returning to the club.

"I think it was really beneficial to train, to be together, to push each other, but off-site where we can just have that focus on our own bodies and getting ourselves in the best position for the upcoming year," he said.

One thing that will certainly be different this year for Foley will be the certainty that he won’t face off against long time foe, and Test teammate, Quade Cooper.

Cooper has been told his services are no longer required by the Reds, set to play in the Queensland Premier Rugby competition in 2018.

Though Foley couldn’t comment on the specifics, he said he would miss going toe-to-toe with his Queensland compatriot.

“He's a wonderful footballer and I think he'll be a loss to Australian rugby,” he said.

The Waratahs open their Super Rugby season against the Stormers on Saturday February 24, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT. Buy tickets here.