The man who kicked the NSW Waratahs to their drought-breaking Super Rugby title win says ending a 16-year wait for World Cup glory would be an achievement of an even-greater magnitude.
Wallabies No.10 Bernard Foley slotted the decisive 79th minute penalty last year to defeat the Crusaders and deliver the Waratahs a first title.
Australian coach Michael Cheika, who steered the ship during the Waratahs campaign, has again entrusted Foley with the kicking duties and will be hoping for an identical outcome in Saturday’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Twickenham.
The similarities to the Wallabies’ upcoming clash are compelling – up until their 33-32 grand final win, the Waratahs had lost their past 11 encounters to the all-powerful Crusaders, led by All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, and had gone a decade without tasting victory.
The Wallabies’ recent record is almost as grim – they beat New Zealand as recently as August, but it was their only victory in the past 12 clashes between the nations.
While the Waratahs waited 18 years for their first title, the Wallabies’ 16-year drought since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in 1999 is the longest in their history.
But despite the common links between the fixtures, Foley says the World Cup final will be the highlight of his career and that its importance puts it on an entirely different pedestal.
“You can draw on those big games for sure, and it’s great to win those, but you can’t really compare that to this week or the momentum,” he said.
“What we’ve done as a side here has been great. We’ve really enjoyed it and what we’re trying to do is be really proud to go out there and put on a display for all the Australians getting up in the middle of the night, the ones making a late dash here or the ex-pats that are here already.
“I don’t think you can compare the two games. You can take confidence that you’ve been in those games before but this is a new magnitude.”