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Wallabies can build on tough year: Foley

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/12/2016 Adrian Warren
Image of Bernard Foley © Getty Images Image of Bernard Foley

First five-eighth Bernard Foley is convinced the Wallabies possess enough quality to beat higher-ranked New Zealand and England and will benefit from the tough times.

Australia won six of 15 Tests in 2016, with most of the Wallabies returning home on Tuesday from the spring tour of Europe, where they beat Wales, Scotland and France but lost to Ireland and England.

They endured a six-match losing streak, knocking them back to third in the world rankings behind England and long standing leader New Zealand.

In only one of the seven losses against those two teams did they get within a single digit margin and all three matches against the All Blacks were lost by at least 20 points.

Foley and defence coach Nathan Grey stressed the Wallabies had produced good play in passages through the year, but critical lapses had proven damaging and prevented them from producing complete performances.

The introduction of more than a dozen debutants this year had Foley upbeat about Australia's future despite their unflattering win-loss record and adamant they could beat higher-ranked teams.

"Definitely, we saw a number of world class players coming through and the potential there is realistic," said Foley, the only man to start all of Australia's 2016 Tests.

"We've seen it this year in spurts and if we can play those games consistently every week, I'm sure this team has the ability to compete with those sides and get back to where we want to be."

Foley admitted the overhauled 2016 squad didn't yet have the belief of the 2015 version.

"There was a lot of optimism when we first got together this year and realistically we were shut down pretty quickly and so we had to rebuild and face the challenges," he said.

"I think out of those tough times and that adversity a lot of guys stood up and that's where I think the optimism and the potential going forward is."

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