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Tahs' Foley clear of serious head injury

NZN 9/03/2017 Darren Walton

Scans have cleared Bernard Foley of any abnormalities as the NSW Waratahs and Wallabies five-eighth battles to overcome post-concussion syndrome.

Foley returned from South Africa on Monday to consult a neurologist after being ruled out of the Waratahs' opening three Super Rugby games of the season.

"Everything seems to be okay. It's just a matter of him resting and then getting his head right around comfort levels and what-not and then, when he's right to go, he'll be right to go," Waratahs assistant coach Nathan Grey said on Thursday.

"It's a bit of an open book."

While Foley is racing the clock to be fit for next weekend's conference crunch match with the Brumbies, the Waratahs' immediate focus is on the Sharks on Sunday morning in Durban.

And specifically on restoring pride in the Tahs' defensive line after conceding eight tries and 55 points last weekend against the Lions in Johannesburg.

"It was very disappointing, a little bit uncharacteristic as well, which is even more disappointing," Grey said.

"A lot of guys stuck their hand up and were very accepting that it wasn't a performance to be happy with."

Head coach Daryl Gibson described his side's 28 missed tackles as horrific.

"It was new experience for a lot of players playing over here and they certainly challenged us around their ball carrying and the way they played the game," Grey said.

"So, as coaches, we certainly take responsibility for that and not having the guys as ready as they should have been."

The Waratahs are bracing for an even-bigger physical challenge from the Sharks, who pipped the Brumbies on Saturday night on the bell in Canberra.

The return of giant lock Will Skelton, a late scratching from the Lions belting with a hamstring strain, is a boost for the Waratahs, as is the expected inclusion of Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps (ankle).

"Those guys will probably be coming into the side and that will provide us with an opportunity to play the way we want to play," Grey said.

"Yeah, it's good to have those guys available."

Flanker Jack Dempsey confessed: "I don't think a few of us showed up to the game on the defensive side" but said scoring five tries proved their high-paced, ball-in-hand rugby was still the way forward for the Tahs.

"We're all 100 per cent behind the game plan and the strategy that we want to play this year," Dempsey said.

"We put 30-odd points on, which is enough to win games of Super Rugby.

"It's obviously the other side of the field and the game that we need to work on.

"Everyone was pretty down after the game, and after the review, looking back, but the mood has picked up and everyone is raring to go.

"We have a couple of guys coming back ready to go, and they boost the mood, especially 'Fanga' (Phipps), with his energy."

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