Bernard Foley learned plenty during last year’s stint at No.12 for the Wallabies, now the refreshed playmaker plans on imparting that knowledge to his Waratahs teammates.
Foley and other Wallabies returned to NSW pre-season training this week, with assistant coach Cam Blades on Tuesday praising the noticeable lift in energy despite the searing heat in Sydney.
Foley’s presence in particular is a boost for the Waratahs just over five weeks from the first round of Super Rugby.
He is the most capped flyhalf in the club’s history and this time last year was playing club rugby in Japan.
Foley opted for a more traditional summer holiday this time around, taking time to clear his head after a disappointing year in which Australia won six of 15 Tests.
“There was still definitely times when you’re rolling around in bed, thinking about the past season.
“But I did a bit of travelling, got out of Sydney and spent time with family and friends. All those things that allow me to switch off, come back in really recharged and ready to go.”
He earned the break more than any other player, being the only Wallaby to start in all 15 Tests of 2016. It was a long year that challenged both the Wallabies and Foley.
The 27-year-old last year for some time relinquished the coveted No.10 spot to Quade Cooper, shifting to inside centre. Foley returned to No.10 on the Spring Tour and cemented his spot as Australia’s chief playmaker in Europe.
Foley could see the upside to playing in a foreign position.
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“A couple of stitches,” Foley joked, when asked what he gained from the temporary switch.
“It probably allowed me to see the game a bit differently.
“As that primary ball player, you’re always involved and getting your hands on the ball. As a 12, you’re playing a bit more of support.
“Now, having experienced that, hopefully I can pass on (advice regarding how to approach it) to my 12 and 13 and those guys around me.
“So we’re all aligned in what we’re seeing and how we’re attacking.”
The Waratahs’ first trial is against the Brumbies on February 4, while their Super Rugby campaign starts with a home match against the Western Force on February 25.
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