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Bernard Foley is not intimidated by the Crusaders in Super Rugby final

Never fear: Bernard Foley and the young Waratahs don't fear the Crusaders.

Never fear: Bernard Foley and the young Waratahs don't fear the Crusaders. Photo: Wolter Peeters

History can take a walk on Saturday night. 

A new generation of Waratahs players, led by Test No.10 Bernard Foley, are not shackled with the legacy of 11 straight losses to the most feared and feted dynasty in Super Rugby.

Foley has played the Crusaders once. 

"It's more [relevant] that you're in the grand final. If it's tight at the end you have to step up," he said. "We just have to have belief in the players that everyone's going to do their job. If it's not good enough on the night, then we'll sit back and lick our wounds, but if it is, that would be pretty successful."

The Waratahs led 22-10 for most of Foley's one encounter in Christchurch more than a year ago, until Dan Carter chipped away at the gap with his boot and Berrick Barnes missed a match-winning kick after the bell.  

For many watching it was another inevitable loss. But for Foley, Israel Folau and many others it was the first, and they have no intention of letting a second final go that way. 

"We were up 15-5 at half-time, then they came back and won by one point [23-22]," Foley said.

"We were unlucky to lose that one I thought, [I] thought we'd done enough to win, but [Dan Carter] showed some pretty good composure at the end there and won it for them." 

Which is why the semi-final win against the ACT Brumbies on Saturday will be banked and drawn upon many times this week and beyond. 

After a year of big score lines, the Waratahs showed their supporters, detractors and, most importantly, themselves, that they can fight hard and long for a win. 

"That's the most impressive thing about the win and the most satisfying, that it was such a grind and we haven't been in one for so long this year," Foley said. 

"We have in patches or halves, and then we've been lucky enough to blow it out and come over sides. But it was very satisfying on Saturday night having to be in the grind for 75 minutes with our backs to the wall. 

"For our defence to be so united and hold up to the challenges the Brumbies threw at us, was very pleasing, and we can take a lot out of that." 

Nevertheless, Carter's shadow looms large over the game this week. 

It will be a showdown worth waiting for when the All Blacks centurion and his playmaking partner Colin Slade face off against Foley and Kurtley Beale. 

"[Carter]'s got all the class and all the experience you can want in a footballer, he's world-best and he's been there for a long time," Foley said. 

"His composure and ability to influence a game and control the match, to do it on their terms, is a massive strength of theirs."

Carter was named in the All Blacks squad on Monday for the Rugby Championship, capping an effortless return from a six-month sabbatical with his first Test squad inclusion since November last year. 

Despite battling a case of the yips in his goal-kicking performance against the Sharks at the weekend, Carter was back to his best elsewhere. 

"You've got to take time and space away from him," Foley said. "That's by nullifying the forwards firstly - once they get a roll on with their pack they have some big ball runners ... [but Carter's] running game is probably undervalued because he can really take on a line as well as distribute to the likes of [full-back] Israel Dagg and [winger Nemani] Nadolo out on the end."

A decade-long drought could end at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night. The Waratahs have not lost a game at home this season and don't plan on stopping now.

 "The Crusaders are littered with All Blacks, so whenever you come up against international players you always want to test yourselves against them and try to get one over them," Foley said. 

"To play against a Crusaders side with so much strength across the board, out at Homebush, will be a massive achievement."

16 comments so far

  • I put it out there a couple of times before.... the Tahs have a settled 10 and 12 combo while the 'Saders are playing the 'best in the world' #10 at 12 ?
    I don't get it.... but hey they are the most successful provincial side in the world, so they must have it right, eh ?

    Commenter
    Machooka
    Location
    inner west sydney
    Date and time
    July 28, 2014, 8:02PM
    • @ Machooka.

      I think they play DC at second because he's a better facilitator to the Crusaders backline than Slade is. Slade despite being injury prone has the ability to burst through the line and finish strong whereas DC has the vision to see support on both sides and direct the attack accordingly. For someone who is coming back after a long hiatus, Blackadder probably thought he'd give DC more time to think and move and he probably didn't think it would work to such great effect. There's no doubt that DC will have a lot of traffic coming his way, but that won't be a problem with Matt Todd sitting on his outside and Franks/ Whitelock sitting on his inside.

      Commenter
      Gonzo
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      July 29, 2014, 11:01AM
    • Its because they have no one else to cover 12. Taylor and Crotty are poor there.
      Though I think it is a bit of a risk putting two brittle players at 10 and 12.

      Commenter
      Matt
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 29, 2014, 11:45AM
    • No Matt, it's because they don't have a Centre.

      With the loss of Fruen, Ray Lee-Lo turned out to be a disappointment, and then they shifted the other guy out to the Wing. So Blackadder's answer is to shift everyone out one.

      Either way. Home advantage is huge in this comp, were this being played in NZ, i'd say the Saders, but since it's not, this is really the Tahs to lose.

      Commenter
      Jackal
      Location
      Tasmania
      Date and time
      July 29, 2014, 3:26PM
  • History means nothing but a Final is a pressure cooker and some teams can fold in that arena.

    The Crusaders haven't won every final they've contested, but they've been there enough to understand what it takes to win. I am an ABs fan but I really hope the Tahs can bring home the bacon. They have played inspired football this year and it would do so much for the game if an Australian side claimed the crown. That being said, these Crusaders are looking extremely sharp, and I don't know that Carter is your target with the game that Ellis, Slade and Flynn had last week. There are threats across the board for both teams with the Waratahs perhaps having the edge in the backs whereas the Crusaders have the edge in the set piece.

    Commenter
    Gonzo
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    July 29, 2014, 7:44AM
    • It should be the Crusaders who should be more worried about the Tahs defence. They have been literally smashing teams off the park this year. Fear of pain should have a few of the Crusaders players having second thoughts. Especially Eggshells Slade.

      The Chiefs, who are probably a more rugged team than the Crusaders, would tell them it is very confronting. Worse that some of the Crusaders are getting on and that injury for them means longer off, missing test matches and even ending careers. The Crusaders are slick and well organised and professional and have the art of gaming the ref down to an art, but when the opposition is coming at you at a million miles an hour for 80 minutes, all that goes out the window.

      Commenter
      johnny-boy
      Date and time
      July 29, 2014, 7:52AM
      • Johnny-Boy. You're the best part of this website.

        Your comedy although complex, stands alone.

        I lost it at "when the opposition is coming at you at a million miles an hour for 80 minutes, all that goes out the window". A million miles J-B? That's too much.

        Commenter
        Gonzo
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        July 29, 2014, 10:56AM
      • Not sure you understand the game to well johnny-boy, or maybe you are only watching through one eye. This should be a helluva game, both teams coming into form at the right time of the year. If you think the Crusaders are fearful of the Tahs, then you have rocks in your head. The Crusaders have also been fearsome in defence and the Tahs will not find the same amount of room they have in recent weeks. Your comments are not supported by fact...Slade in fact has been fearless in defence despite some heavy knocks, he will give as good as any No 10 in the competition....in fact if we are talking 'flakey' watch the Crusaders send plenty of action down Beale's channel!! In the past the New Zealand teams have put pressure on Beale and he has been found wanting, how he handles the pressure this weekend could decide the match. Opposite him, Carter has been all class in the past couple of matches & from a rugby perspective it is great to see him back to his best.
        This will be a tight game and it might come down to who wins the battle up front, the Crusaders look to have the edge there....but it could go either way.

        Commenter
        melboy
        Location
        melbourne
        Date and time
        July 29, 2014, 11:35AM
    • For a bloke who has done bugger all Foley has a lot to say . Now according to this genius , they are hatching a plan to stop Dan Carter . Probably a high , cheap or late shot from a bloke who should have cited after last week . Smarter blokes than Nathan Grey have hatched plans to stop Dan Carter , all have failed , so good luck with that one .

      Commenter
      Mankad
      Location
      The Bush
      Date and time
      July 29, 2014, 9:14AM
      • It is going to be a cracker!
        Bring it.

        Commenter
        MattD
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        July 29, 2014, 10:20AM

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