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

Foley out of Tahs' rugby clash with Lions

NZN 2/03/2017 Darren Walton

The NSW Waratahs have suffered a blow with star playmaker Bernard Foley ruled out of the Super Rugby showdown with the Lions in Johannesburg.

The Wallabies five-eighth passed a series of concussion tests during the week only to fall short in Thursday's final assessment.

"Bernard had progressed well through the return to play stages early in the week, to the point where he had taken part in non-contact training. But after assessing him this morning we felt he was not quite 100 per cent so it would be best to give him another week," Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said.

Bryce Hegarty will again start in the No.10 jersey after filling in for Foley in last Saturday's season-opening 19-13 win over the Western Force in Sydney.

The Waratahs were relishing the prospect of Foley's return as they look to become the competition's new road warriors against the rampant Lions.

"The Lions are a team that like to play very positively, use the ball well, run hard, very direct," Gibson said.

"That style of play won them through to the final last year and they're a very strong team."

The Waratahs are expecting a vastly different style of match than the dour contest they endured against the Force and that excites the 2014 champions.

"We're itching to get back to playing some good footy," halfback Nick Phipp said.

"Now that we've got a taste of Super Rugby again, everyone's looking forward to getting out there and playing some expansive footy.

"We know the Lions will, so you're excited when you're coming up against those teams that want to play good footy.

"It will be a real test for us to see where we're at."

Far from lamenting two games in South Africa so early in the season, the Tahs view tough fixtures against the Lions and then the Sharks in Durban as a golden opportunity to gain a jump on their rivals.

"I think you'll find that any sort of good season that a team has, they have a good South Africa trip," Phipps said.

"The Waratahs got three wins on the trot four or five years ago (in 2009) and that really set them up and they were pretty much the benchmark for travelling to South Africa.

"We certainly know that if we can come over here and get a couple of wins under our belt and scrape away a few points, then it's really going to set us up towards the back end of the season because, like everyone, teams play their best footy at home.

"If we can try and get in here early and catch a couple of teams early on before the season is in full swing, that would be fantastic for our season ahead."

WARATAHS: Andrew Kellaway, Reece Robinson, Israel Folau, Irae Simone, Rob Horne, Bryce Hegarty, Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Jack Dempsey, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Hugh Roach, Paddy Ryan, David Lolohea, David McDuling, Senio Toleafoa, Matt Lucas, David Horwitz, Taqele Naiyaravoro.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon