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Foley's return sparks Tahs' Super revival

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/03/2017 Melissa Woods

Bernard Foley has returned from injury to deliver on his reputation as the NSW Waratahs' money man in a last-gasp Super Rugby win over the Melbourne Rebels.

Playing his first game of the season after suffering lingering concussion symptoms after a head knock in the pre-season, the Wallabies five-eighth was instrumental in the Waratahs' second-half revival, coming back from 19 points down to snatch the unlikely win.

Heading into the AAMI Park match it was revealed that NSW have won 59 per cent of their games when Foley's at No.10.

His head was tested early with a couple of big Rebels tackles but the 27-year-old came through the match unscathed.

"There was a bit of rust but I really enjoyed playing," Foley said.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson was also satisfied with his playmaker's performance, although felt the best was still to come.

"He obviously gave a lot of fluency," Gibson said of Foley.

"I thought at times he was a little rusty, a couple of errant passes there but I thought on balance, first game back after a four-week lay-off, he was excellent."

Foley credited the Waratahs forward pack after they took advantage of some Rebels' injuries to dominate and starve the home side of any quality possession in the second half

He felt the his team's attack was actually quite good in the first half but they were lacking finishing polish.

While the win snapped a three-game losing streak and relieved some pressure on Gibson, Foley said one win wouldn't make a season.

"This is maybe the start of it," he said.

"We've spoken about trying to stand up and tell a story and I thought this was the first chapter in doing that.

"It's going to take a lot more hard work but it shows the belief and character in this team to want to stand up and keep fighting."

The Waratahs face an even tougher test next Sunday, hosting the unbeaten Crusaders.

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