The New South Wales Waratahs confirmed yesterday that fly-half Bernard Foley will not be returning to the team, or Super Rugby, next season, as he will move to Japan’s Kubota Spears after the World Cup.
With 67 Wallaby caps to his name, that does not necessarily end his chances of playing international rugby (as the Giteau Law states that overseas players must have over 60 caps), but it does add to a concerning number of players that are leaving Australian shores.
As of next season, fly-halves Foley, Quade Cooper and Christian Leali’ifano will all be playing in Japan, in addition to a plethora of other players.
However, Waratahs and Australia fans are not too upset with this announcement regarding Foley. There has been a fairly muted response on social media to this, but those fans that have given their opinion have not been entirely impressed with Foley over the past few years.
Foley has always been reliable for whomever he plays for, but not necessarily the most flashy. His conservative style has perhaps meant he has not been able to completely win over the Australian public, and some fans feel that his departure can allow the next generation to flourish.
There will be an alarming lack of depth to Australian rugby next year, but that has been the case for a long time, and the Wallabies have always managed due to the eternal flow of young players coming through.
Suffice to say that many fans are not as concerned about this exodus as some think.
This is what has been said:
Whatever the opposite of crisis is, that’s what this is.
— Mick McGee (@namtrak) July 11, 2019
However, it has not all been negative from fans, as many recall some of the better days the 29-year-old had in a blue or gold jersey. He steered the Waratahs to the Super Rugby title in 2014, and a year later the Wallabies to the World Cup final.
The way in which Foley pulled England apart in the group stages in 2015 may well be the defining moment of his career to date, as he scored 28 points in his side’s 33-13 win at Twickenham. Some fans, however, feel his form since then has slumped.
"his slick inside pass to KB in the 2015 RWC at Twickenham! He scored off the return pass, and I can still hear the British commentator saying "this is now a sporting crisis for England."
— Nicky Williamson ??????? (@NickyWill100) July 12, 2019
Throughout his time with the Waratahs and the Wallabies, Foley has been one that has split opinion, so it is only understandable that his departure evokes the same reaction.
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