Bernard Foley says the NSW Waratahs’ Test hopefuls need to get their own shop in order before contemplating any Wallabies action this year.
The straight-shooting Wallabies No.10 admits the under-performing Tahs weren’t up to standard in Sunday’s Super Rugby loss to Melbourne and must start delivering and forget about higher honours for now.
Foley’s damning assessment came after the Waratahs sat through a brutal review of the listless loss to the Rebels.
“It wasn’t a pretty review. Pretty honest,” he said.
“We probably went outside of our systems and showed a lack of maturity in that regard.
“To be honest, from a backline point of view, we weren’t up to scratch.”
While Michael Cheika this week insisted it was up to the state coaches to improve the fortunes of Australia’s flagging Super Rugby teams, the Wallabies boss made an exception for his former franchise.
The Waratahs have won just two of their first five games – both victories coming against the hapless Queensland Reds – and Cheika says the onus is on the leadership group to help first-year head mentor Daryl Gibson out a little.
“It’s just about the more experienced players taking charge and ensuring that the younger guys – because there are a fair few younger guys coming through – are following their lead,” Cheika said on Fox Sports’ Rugby 360.
“And then the transition will smoothly take place over the season.”
Foley said Cheika had also issued Australia’s Test contenders, including a dozen Waratahs, a reminder of what was required during their two-day camp in Sydney.
“Just to hear from Cheik and the views of where he wants to take the team this year is also refreshing,” Foley said.
“It allowed us to come back to our states and work on things that we have to work on as well.
“Personally, going into the Wallabies set-up or having a taste of that really focuses you on what you to be doing week in, week out.
“You can’t just expect that come Test season and you’ll be be at that level.
“It’s something that you have to train for and play at every day and every weekend to get there.”
With the Waratahs hosting the Brumbies in a must-win conference derby at Allianz Stadium on Saturday week, Foley said Test selection for the June series against Eddie Jones’ revitalised England outfit was “the last thing on our minds”.
“Having a bye week, we can really have a look at ourselves individually but also as a unit and collectively find where we can get better and where we’re going to have to be better against the Brumbies,” he said.
“It’s about just having trust in what we do, getting repetition in that and guys not going outside of that … rather than trying to make a quick fix.”