Five-eighth Bernard Foley says the NSW Waratahs have extra motivation for Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final as they’re determined to farewell a clutch of key players only after another title-decider.
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Sekope Kepu, Wycliff Palu and Jacques Potgieter are among those who will end their days in Waratahs colours if they lose to the Highlanders at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
But they would get a more fitting farewell if they play for a second consecutive Super Rugby title in the final on Saturday week.
“There have been some really great guys for Australia and NSW rugby and for them it is only fitting if we can send them out in a grand final,” Foley said on Monday.
“That’s definitely an extra bit of motivation for the weekend.”
Winger Peter Betham and halfback Brendan McKibbin are other Waratahs heading overseas after this season and outside back Taqele Naiyaravoro is reportedly doing likewise.
Another Waratah who might be playing his last game over the next couple of weekends is veteran back rower Stephen Hoiles.
“I’m approaching it with a really open mind,” 33-year-old Hoiles said.
“It could be my last game. I could play overseas, I could play on here, all that stuff is still up in the air.
“We’ll just see how the body feels at the end of the season.”
Incumbent Test five-eighth Foley was diplomatic when asked about the news that Quade Cooper, a rival for the Wallabies No.10 jersey, wouldn’t be re-signed by the Reds and looked likely to take up a contract with cashed up French club Toulon.
“I think what Quade’s doing is up to him,” Foley said.
“He’s been really good with Australian rugby and if he stays he stays and if he leaves it’s a new challenge for him and all the best to him.”
Foley stressed the Waratahs were acutely aware of the dangers posed by Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo, who has just been named in the All Blacks squad.
The Fijian-born speedster scored a long-distance try against the Tahs in the Highlanders’ 26-19 bonus point win over the defending Super Rugby champions in Dunedin back in March.
He tops the tournament’s try tally with 11.
Foley said the Highlanders were a dangerous unit, NSW needing to nullify all their threats, not just Naholo.
“The more we can cut them down and give them less time and space the less damaging he (Naholo) can be,” Foley said.