You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Foley back for Waratahs' Super acid test

NZN 5/04/2017 Darren Walton

The white-hot Hurricanes hold no fears for the NSW Waratahs as they venture to Wellington intent on reviving their Super Rugby season on Friday night.

Nor does Bernard Foley fear another setback after being named to return in a massive boost for the visitors.

Foley will go head to head with Hurricanes superstar Beauden Barrett after replacing rookie five-eighth Mack Mason in the Waratahs' No.10 jumper.

"He's the world's player of the year last year and he's leading a quality side so it's a challenge for myself and I always relish the chance to play against him," Foley said on Wednesday.

After missing the first four rounds, the Wallabies playmaker experienced further post-concussion symptoms after leading NSW to a memorable comeback win over the Melbourne Rebels.

But the 27-year-old believes he's finally back to full health.

"There's a lot of unknowns but I'm really confident," Foley said.

"I've done now a week and a half of 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."

Coach Daryl Gibson had no hesitation recalling Foley after the neurologist gave the green light.

Fellow Wallabies back Rob Horne was initially named for a comeback too, only to pull up sore from training.

His late withdrawal earned Bryce Hegarty a start at fullback, with Israel Folau to remain at outside centre, while Gibson has handed powerhouse winger Taqele Naiyaravoro his first start of the year.

Wingers Andrew Kellaway and Reece Robinson have been bench and dropped respectively.

In the forwards, Michael Wells will start at No.8, relegating Jed Holloway to the bench, and Paddy Ryan replaces Tom Robertson after the prop suffered a head knock against the Crusaders.

Everything points to another trans-Tasman triumph for the Hurricanes, with New Zealand teams having won all 11 showdowns with Australian opposition in 2017.

Apart from averaging 50 points a game this campaign, the Hurricanes are riding a franchise-record eight game winning streak on home soil and have won their past four games in Wellington against Australian teams by an average margin of 34 points.

The Waratahs are taking heart from the fact they've won three of their past four clashes with the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium.

"We went over there in 2015 and won and 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."

In added motivation to spring an upset, the Waratahs believe the Hurricanes may be underestimating them after resting destructive winger Julian Savea.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon