Bernard Foley is back in the Waratahs line-up to face the Hurricanes. Source: News Corp Australia
Bernard Foley is back in the Waratahs line-up to face the Hurricanes. Source: News Corp Australia

Foley happy to be back for Waratahs ... for good

WARATAHS five-eighth Bernard Foley says he's confident his on-again, off-again head knock symptoms have gone for good after it was determined the recent problems plaguing him stemmed from a neck issue.

Foley has been named to return in Wellington on Friday night in a NSW team also that also sees Rob Horne returning, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Michael Wells starting and prop Tom Robertson replaced by Paddy Ryan due to concussion.

Foley missed the Waratahs' loss to the Crusaders last Sunday after suffering what appeared to be a recurrence of concussion symptoms following NSW's win over the Rebels a week earlier.

The Waratahs No.10 had sat out the first four weeks of Super Rugby due to lingering effects of a head knock in a trial.

Foley said he "felt a bit lousy" in the days after the Rebels match and was ruled out of the Crusaders game as he felt "light sensivity ... and pressure in the head".

But after further examination with a neurologist, treatment and a week's training without symptoms, Foley has been given the all-clear and said the lingering problem was related to a neck and inner-ear issue.

"It wasn't actually bruising of the brain or concussion, it was stemming from the neck and in my ear so that's the pleasing thing," Foley said.

"There's no other symptoms.

"It was maybe a bit understandable after a big night and a heavy workload (against the Rebels) but in saying that it was disappointing to come back an miss last week but I'm fully confident that's the last of it."

It's unclear whether Foley suffered concussion symptoms that cleared quickly after the Rebels, or it was the neck problem that brought them on.

Asked whether he was concerned about another return of symptoms given he'd previously been given the all-clear before the Rebels match, Foley said: "There's no foreseeable way (of knowing symptoms won't return). We don't know the unknowns, there's a lot of unknowns but I'm really confident.

"I've done now a week and a half full training sessions and been tested so it's really good since that last game. I'm more confident it will pull up sweet and looking forward after that."

 

Paddy Ryan has been called into the Tahs starting XV. Source: News Corp Australia
Paddy Ryan has been called into the Tahs starting XV. Source: News Corp Australia

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said he was 'really comfortable with the neurologist's assessment of where Foley's at.'

"Everything that he's experiencing is un-concussion related so that gives both player and coach peace of mind."

Gibson said it was an "easy" call to pick two new starting wingers, with Naiyaravoro and Cam Clark replacing Reece Robinson and Andrew Kellaway.

"Obviously Taqele's earned a chance to have more minutes. His performances off the bench have been encouraging," Gibson said.

"Again, Cam Clark, he deserves an opportunity to see what he can do there."

The return of Horne at centre - which sees Israel Folau return to No.15 - will allow the Waratahs to attack the Canes with more "directness", said Gibson.

Wells' impressive form off the bench has seen him preferred at no.8 to Jed Holloway.

"Jed's struggled to regain the levels that he's got to (previously), Gibson said.

"At the moment, Michael Wells has put up his hand there so he gets a start."

Foley said the Waratahs could take pointers toward victory from their last visit to Wellington in 2015, when a brutal physicality laid the platform for a win.

"We went over there in 2015 and won and think that night it was really led by our forwards," Foley said.

"I remember Cliffy Palu really led the charge there to go after them and really disrupt their way of playing. Every time I play the Hurricanes it's always been a really tightly contested game. We know how they play, their structures, their systems and what they like to do.

"It's about going over there and having the right intent and nullifying their threats and disrupting their game. If you let them play the way they want to play and the style, they all gel off that and relish the opportunity of quick ball. They've got attacking prowess."

News Corp Australia

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