Wallabies game breakers Bernard Foley and Israel Folau will take ownership.of a youthful.Waratahs backline in the coming Super Rugby season.
Several of the young guns will be unveiled in Thursday’s final trial against an All Blacks-laden Highlanders side in Sydney.
While Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has named six Wallabies in their starting pack, centre Folau and five-eighth Foley are the only internationals in a young backline, with Test veteran Rob Horne expected to miss the opening round Super game through injury.,
Halfback Jake Gordon, inside centre Irae Simone and winger Harry Jones will all get their first start in the senior side.
Asked about his role in guiding the youngsters around, playmaker Foley drew a comparison with the NFL’s Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
“Just ease those guys into the game, a bit like the Tom Brady effect, just allow them to do their job,” Foley said.
“In the past couple of years I’ve looked around and you had the likes of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Kurtley Beale, guys who have been stalwarts in Super Rugby.
“Now looking around in that backline there is a bit of a void, but it’s a challenge I have to take up along with Israel.
‘He’ (Folau) has been in the game now for a number of years and we’ve been given a bit more ownership or a bit more accountability in making sure this backline lives up to it’s full potential because there is a lot of good talented guys there.”
He described Gordon as a quality player and said powerful New Zealand-born Simone had “set the place on fire.
‘I think he’s an extreme talent. He’s a big guy and he doesnt shy away from the contact.
“He’s been really impressive, especially in trying to fill that void of the second ball player, with Kurtley gone.”
Foley would be happy to see his old frend Beale back at the Tahs if he decides to come back after finishing the current English campaign with Wasps and welcomed the return of rival five-eighth Quade Cooper to Queensland.
“With good fly halves in Australia it’s only going to be better for the Wallabies and their Super clubs,” he said.
“It’s great having the calibre of player that Quade is back in Super Rugby and I’m sure he’ll do really well for the Reds this year.”
NSW Waratahs starting team to face the Highlanders:: Andrew Kellaway, Reece Robinson, Israel Folau, Irae Simone, Harry Jones, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Jack Dempsey, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson.P