St Bernard, Holy Foley… Bernard Foley is thriving. There is no doubt about it. He has cemented himself as Australia’s preferred number ten in the course of a few weeks.
This World Cup he has shown how much maturity and skill he has developed over the past few years.
Compare him to Quade Cooper. Cooper has kicked 5 from 11 this world cup while Foley has 17 out of 19. While they both have two tries, Foley has came up against harder opponents and hasn’t got a yellow card.
This is just looking at the stats. If you actually watch the games you can easily see why Cheika wants Foley in the team.
He sets up plenty of great plays and is behind most of the tries. Having a highly skilled scrum half in Will Genia also helps, but what really has benefited Foley is the effort he’s putting in.
Take, for example, the game against England, when the ball was almost certainly going into touch but he heroically dived over the sideline and kept the ball in just to gain more metres and to set up the team.
His imput is also evident when he receives the ball. Twelve months ago he wasn’t making the right decisions all the time.
He would run an inside line when there was a clear overlap on the wing or he would try and create something when it wasn’t there.
Now, during the World Cup, he carries the ball when he needs to and hands off beautiful passes to set up pre-rehearsed plays.
Foley is way more alert and hard working than he was previously. He has bloomed at just the right time for the Wallabies and this is why he is part of Michael Cheika’s top fifteen.
While Foley is having a dream World Cup the likes of Kurtley Beale and Matt Toomua are also finding their feet.
While they cannot join Israel Folau, Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Tevita Kuridrani in the starting fifteen, the majority of the time they are both playing exceptional games off the bench. This is a great sign, especially for Beale who, twelve months ago, was competing with Foley for the number ten jersey before off-field issues forced him out of the team.
Now he has returned stronger than ever and is playing for a spot anywhere in the backs.
With Scotland ahead and then a likely semi-final against Ireland just watch out for these three, especially Foley.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Australia may be on track to win their first World Cup in sixteen years because of some Bernard Foley excellence.
Roarers, do you agree?