Australia fly-half Bernard Foley has hit back at his side’s critics and says the Wallabies’ togetherness was crucial to their impressive win against Wales. Following whitewash series defeats to both England and New Zealand the squad had come in for criticism, with Foley himself moved to the centres to accommodate the return of Quad Cooper.
However, back in his favoured No. 10 jersey, Foley put in a man-of-the-match performance as the Wallabies blew their hosts away, building a 20-3 half-time lead at the Principality Stadium before eventually triumphing 32-8. “For us there is a lot of external noise, and there has been this year, and it’s something that we’ve had to put up with,” Foley said. “But as a squad we’re taking no notice of that external noise, we’re trying to just focus on our roles in this squad and be really tight as a squad. “And I think the resilience this team has showed, the character its showed with the tests that we’ve been put through this year is just setting the platform for future success.”
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika praised his team’s preparation for the game in his post-match press conference, and his playmaker echoed those thoughts. He said: “It’s pleasing, it definitely is. It’s on the back of a lot of hard work, not just this week but throughout the Rugby Championship and into that third Bledisloe [Cup game against the All Blacks] this team has been working tirelessly on our defensive systems, on making the right tackles and decisions, but also on our attack shape. “If you look at the forwards, they were awesome in their ability to set the platform, set the physicality. That’s something we have to continue.” However, Foley insisted there was still work to be done as the Wallabies turn their attention to their game against Scotland at Murrayfield next Saturday. The two sides met in last year’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal, with Australia securing their passage to the last four thanks in no small part to a questionable decision from referee Craig Joubert.
“You only have to look back at last year’s quarterfinal,” he added. “They’re a team that if you’re ill-disciplined and knock off at the set piece, they’ll really hurt you. That’s something we’ll address early in this week and go with a plan to nullify that.” Meanwhile, Cheika revealed that David Pocock was replaced at half-time in Cardiff due to a head knock sustained in the first half.
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Wallabies win proves resilience says Foley
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