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Bernard Foley on Test recall chances with Schmidt now Wallabies boss

By Liam Heagney
Bernard Foley playing for the Wallabies in 2022 (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Bernard Foley has shared his thoughts on whether he wants to play international rugby with Joe Schmidt now in charge of the Wallabies. The 35-year-old Kubota Spears fly-half had looked set to go to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after starting three of Australia’s 2022 Autumn Nations Series matches in Europe under Dave Rennie.

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However, Rennie was soon unceremoniously sacked and replaced by Eddie Jones as Wallabies head coach and what ultimately unfolded at the final in France enraged Foley.

“It didn’t have to be like this!” he tweeted shortly after the heavy loss to Wales in Lyon left Australia on the cusp of the pool stage elimination that resulted in Jones quitting to take over Japan and create the vacancy that has since been filled by Schmidt, the former Ireland boss who assisted Ian Foster’s All Blacks at France 2023.

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New Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt media briefing

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New Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt media briefing

Foley is currently playing in his fifth Japan Rugby League One season with Kubota Spears, and he was part of a media briefing on Tuesday ahead of his club’s friendly game next weekend against the touring Super Rugby Chiefs.

He wasn’t keen to revisit his succinct comments about the recent World Cup. “Mate, I think everyone has moved on, right? I think it wasn’t something to really reflect on. Hopefully, the Australian public and the Australian rugby public and all the rugby players are looking forward now so, yeah, not much to say about that.”

The Test-level veteran was more open on his thoughts as to whether he would welcome an international recall with Schmidt now in charge of the Wallabies. “I suppose I haven’t really thought about it after last year, after the World Cup,” he explained.

“My focus has been on coming back and playing rugby here. I haven’t engaged or spoken to anyone at Australian rugby for six months. My focus is here, not having thought about that or going back and playing.

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“A new coach brings in a lot of new structures and they do things a new way, seeing as the previous way didn’t work. It will be interesting to see which direction they take. That discussion (about being involved) may happen but, at the moment, definitely not thinking about it.”

So does that suggest Foley’s Test carer is over? “It’s not but it would probably have to be a pretty significant change to go back and enjoy international rugby. I think just knowing the commitment and how inclusive that drive is to be there in those international set-ups, it would take a lot to go back in and play international rugby.

“I want the Wallabies to do well. Speaking to Dane (Coles), he speaks really highly of Joe and what he will be able to achieve. If there is some way I can help maybe I will but, as I say, I’m pretty settled at just playing club footy and spending my time up here.”

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