Bernard Foley remains hopeful of wearing the green and gold at next year’s Olympic Games despite already securing an unprecedented deal to play rugby year-round in Australia and Japan.
Far from harbouring any burnout fears after being granted the ARU’s first-ever “flexible contract” that will allow the Wallabies playmaker two seasons in Japan while also carrying on with the Waratahs, Foley is also eyeing a spot in the Australian sevens team for Rio de Janeiro.
“I’ve always been very passionate about the sevens and to play in the Olympics is something that would be very special and something I’d love to do,” Foley said on Thursday.
Foley, a former Australian sevens captain who won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, not only expressed his desire to make the Olympics but also revealed negotiations with the ARU, Waratahs – and presumably sevens coach Geraint John – had taken place.
“Logistically, it’s going to be tough but hopefully we can – or maybe – there will be an opportunity there to work in with the sevens and the Waratahs,” he said.
“Being part of the Olympics would be amazing and there has been that communication as well.
“So I’m not going to sure how it’s going to pan out … with the seasons overlapping and the time lines.”
Foley’s double deal locks the goalkicking No.10 in with the Waratahs until the end of 2018 and also frees the 25-year-old up to play for a Japanese club – tipped to be the Ricoh Black Rams – after the World Cup and again after next year’s Rugby Championship.
Foley will effectively be playing rugby all year round for at least the next two years, but that’s the trade off for the ARU as it desperately tries to head off a mass player exodus after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Foley says the high-tech medical monitoring of players these days has him well equipped for the gruelling schedule.
“Every day we’re logging in about our welfare,” he said.
“We’ve got monitors on our back saying every metre we run.
“The responsibility comes down to myself as well, putting myself in the right position and looking after myself.
“I know my body and know how to manage it and get the best out of it.”
Foley pointed to Waratahs teammate Jacques Potgieter, the South African hardman forward who doubles up for the Fukuoka Sanix Blues between Super Rugby seasons, as proof that playing in Japan as well can be done.
“When he first came here, I think it was a bit of a shock the demands coming back to Super Rugby,” Foley said.
“But if you look at him this year, he’s a lot lighter. He’s leaner and he’s been raring to go.
“He’s been able to play nearly every minute of every game and straight back into it.
“So it’s not like it’s foreign and he’s in a different position to me and still been able to do it.”