Foley to head offshore after Rugby World Cup

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley is the latest Test player to confirm his Australian departure, with NSW announcing on Friday that 2019 was his last in Super Rugby.

The Waratahs said only that Foley was leaving to "pursue overseas opportunities" but it appears most likely that the playmaker will be heading to Japan.

Foley has previously played in Japan, featuring for the Ricoh Black Rams after the 2015 Rugby World Cup but he played just one season for the team.

The 29-year-old will leave NSW as its most-capped flyhalf and one of its top 10 overall, since making his Super Rugby debut back in 2011 against Auckland.

“It’s not been an easy decision and one that took a great deal of thought, but to be moving on from the Waratahs is certainly a bittersweet feeling,” Foley said to the Waratahs' website.

The Waratahs need to hang on to the ball. Photo: Getty Images“The Waratahs gave me my first opportunity at professional rugby and I’ve grown so much as a player and a person during my time here, playing with some of the game’s greats and making friendships that will last a lifetime.

“It’s been a privilege to represent this great state and my family and friends. I’d like to thank the coaches who have supported me and the teammates I’ve played with over the years.

“Our fans have been exceptional during my time here and I’d like to thank them for their support, I look forward to cheering on the boys with them well into the future.

“I’ve loved every minute of my time here, but I’ve got a new challenge in front of me and I’m looking forward to that as well.”

Foley's departure follows that of fellow capped Wallabies Curtis Rona, Nick Phipps and Sekope Kepu from the Waratahs while big names Adam Ashley-Cooper, Karmichael Hunt and Kurtley Beale are yet to declare their plans.

His move opens the door for rookie flyhalf Mack Mason to step up after having limited minutes in recent seasons.

NSW Rugby Union's general manager of rugby Tim Rapp paid tribute to Foley for his contribution to the team.

Bernard Foley iced the game for the Waratahs, scoring 25 points and kicking eight of his nine attempts at goal. Photo: Getty Images “Bernard has been an important part of the Waratahs for the best part of a decade,” he said.

“He’s been a consistent performer at the highest level for a long period, and ultimately his numbers speak for themselves – he’s achieved a lot of great things for the Waratahs and we certainly appreciate that.

“The quality of his character and the value he adds to a team environment will certainly be missed, he’s a great guy who is well-liked and respected right across NSW Rugby.

“We’re obviously disappointed to see him go but it’s a competitive marketplace, particularly at the end of a World Cup cycle. Everyone at NSW Rugby wishes Bernard all the best at both the World Cup and in the next chapter in his career."

Foley is currently in South Africa with the Wallabies ahead of their first Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. 

PLAYER MOVEMENTS

What are some of Australia's capped Wallabies doing after the 2019 World Cup?

While this is no exhaustive list, take a look at where some of Australia's biggest Super Rugby names are looking for 2020 and beyond.

Leaving

Waratahs

Bernard Foley - TBC*

Curtis Rona - London Irish

Nick Phipps - London Irish*

Sekope Kepu - London Irish*

Reds

Samu Kerevi - Suntory

Scott Higginbotham - Bordeaux

Sefa Naivalu - Stade Francais

Brumbies

Rory Arnold - Toulouse

Sam Carter - Ulster

Christian Lealiifano - NTT Communications

David Pocock - Panasonic*

Henry Speight - Reds

Rebels

Adam Coleman - London Irish

Quade Cooper - Kintetsu*

Will Genia - Kintetsu*

Michael Ruru - France

STAYING

Waratahs

Michael Hooper - 2023

Jack Dempsey - 2020

Tom Robertson - 2020

Reds

Taniela Tupou - 2020

Izack Rodda - 2020

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto - 2020

Brumbies

Allan Alaalatoa - 2023

Tom Banks - 2022

Scott Sio - 2022

Tevita Kuridrani - 2020

Joe Powell - 2020

James Slipper - 2020

Rebels

Dane Haylett-Petty - 2021

Reece Hodge - 2020

Jack Maddocks - 2020

Jermaine Ainsley - 2020

Luke Jones - 2020

Billy Meakes - 2020

UNCONFIRMED

Waratahs

Karmichael Hunt

Adam Ashley-Cooper

Kurtley Beale

Rebels

Marika Koroibete

* denotes players still eligible for Test duty overseas