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NSW Waratahs hero Bernard Foley reveals how he nailed title-winning kick

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Waratahs win maiden title

NSW win the Super Rugby 2014 title against the Crusaders in a thrilling 33-32 triumph at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

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When the Waratahs were awarded a penalty inside the last minute of Saturday’s night Super Rugby final against the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium, NSW five-eighth Bernard Foley didn’t flinch.

He immediately stepped up to take the kick – even though from 43-metre the attempt might be slightly out of his range.

With the score at 32-30 in the Crusaders' favour, he knew the game hung in the balance and only he could save the day.

The moment: Bernard Foley puts boot to ball in the hope of winning the title.

The moment: Bernard Foley puts boot to ball in the hope of winning the title. Photo: Getty Images

Cool as a cucumber, Foley at least knew he was in a place he had been before – against the Blues at the Allianz Stadium last year, when his attempt just after the full-time siren sailed over to clinch NSW a home win.

One big difference: this time it was a Super Rugby final and before a 61,000-plus crowd on the edge of their seats begging for the Waratahs to win their first Super title.

Several teammates still came up to Foley with various words of encouragement, but as he recalled later he just “tried to brush them off” and just went through his normal kicking routine fully prepared to “live with the consequences”.

Champions: Waratahs players celebrate after winning the Super Rugby final over the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium. Click for more photos

NSW Waratahs win Super Rugby final

The Waratahs got home in a thriller 33-32 via a late penalty goal to Bernard Foley. Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Good for him, the Waratahs and their fans that his boot sent the ball through the posts for his eighth successful kick from 10 for the night – with seven penalties and a conversion.

Within a blink, ANZ Stadium was suddenly shaking to the roar of jumping and cheering Waratahs players, officials and fans – as the scoreboard read 33-32. The Crusaders were left in total despair.

“I knew it was right on my distance. I knew I didn’t have much left in it,” Foley said. “I had to give it a lot. The rugby Gods are smiling over us. It was just reward I suppose for what the team has done. To win like that is probably a dream come true.”

Swamped: Teammates rush to congratulate Bernard Foley.

Swamped: Teammates rush to congratulate Bernard Foley. Photo: Getty Images

Foley admitted knowing he could handle such pressure kicks had helped, but that he had come to the final prepared for such an ending to a truly gripping final.

“These are big moments where you have to take the kick,” Foley said. “That’s why I did the extras after training. That’s why I would kick 100 balls a week. Normally I let ‘KB’ [Kurtley Beale] take the long ones … but I had been kicking them well tonight. That’s why you kick goals, to take that responsibility. I thought it would just sneak in if anything and it did exactly that.”

One irony not lost on Waratahs coach Michael Cheika was the role in the outcome played by his team’s kicking coach Andrew Mehrtens, the former All Black and Crusader star who had publicly tipped against the NSW side winning. “The two times he has tipped against us, we have won,” a beaming Cheika said. “The sucker punch has been ruled in, guaranteed. He can keep tipping against us, no problems whatsoever.

“They had the hangman’s noose out for him on Thursday, but in saying that [Foley] kicked a goal from 43 metres.

“[That was] probably just a touch outside his range, under pressure, under the guidance of Andrew; and even though he has had a small involvement around a day a week – and sometimes I have been there – every little inch counts

“In a way he has been a big contributor in relation to the result. I love the irony of the situation. There is no doubt about it.”

Foley also credited Mehrtens for having helped him kick from a longer range, saying: “We have worked in putting a bit more length in the kick. That proved a bit tonight.”

Cheika also said the way Foley embraced the moment, and with the backing of the team that knew what was at stake, symbolised the growth in self belief within the squad.

“Normally Bernard is kicking from 40m, that’s his range; but I saw the players really believed in him,” Cheika said. “There was no hesitation, no doubt. He just stepped up and said, ‘I’ll take responsibility for this.’ That really pleased me.

“Obviously, kicking the goal was pretty good too; but one thing we are trying to bring in here is [a] real acceptance of responsibility and not being scared to take on responsibility, or worried about losing or missing or not making a kick.”

Asked if the confidence of the Waratahs to back themselves made the difference on Saturday night, Cheika said: “I think so. It’s what we have done all year.”

32 comments so far

  • Great win. The only sporting result that matters this year. Well done, Waratahs, at last!

    Not sure about the point of the poll. It isn't about union versus league, anyway. Bogans will be bogans and will continue to watch league, regardless.

    As long as we still have the Shute Shield on the ABC (aka: the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon) I'm happy.

    Commenter
    Ben
    Location
    Manly
    Date and time
    August 03, 2014, 6:39AM
    • "The only sporting result that matters this year." "Bogans with be bogans." Be sure to hold on to that snugness, won't you?

      Commenter
      Jeeves!! Bring me my Jaguar!
      Location
      The Leather-Armpatch Brigade.
      Date and time
      August 03, 2014, 3:34PM
    • Poor attitude mate. There's plenty of cross-over between League and Union in both the fan base and playing ranks these days. I'm a member of both Easts and the Tahs and I know guys who are members of both the Tahs and the Swans too.

      Rugby is a brilliant game, but League and Australian Football are great sports in their own right. Rugby just needs keep doing what it's doing at the moment and just focus on playing positive rugby at all levels and engaging the community at every level.

      Leave the petty name calling to the small minded zealots and more people will embrace the game.

      Commenter
      Dan
      Date and time
      August 03, 2014, 4:24PM
    • Exactly right, Dan: Ben, when I was a sprog the story was you played League & Union on Saturday as a kid, or during the week, and did what you wanted to do on Sunday. I remember fondly the classic League games of the 50s to early 90s. Kangaroos beat England 18-17 in September 1963, and that magnificent winger Ken Irvine kicked the goal to seal the win

      But when it became a billionaires game in the 90s I really lost interest. I wonder how Straw Andrew [Easts' fullback, early '60s, made a quadriplegic by a spear tackle], feels about the $$$ mesmerising the players today. Or Gary Deasey, a really good lightweight flyer on the wing for Souths, feels about Peter Dimond destroying his career with thuggery in the late '60s.

      I reckon I don't need to go into more detail. Work it out for yourself. Today the mungoes play League, AFAIK. Or as far as I can work out. Dopey Dopey & Dopey. Reg Gasnier was a bright bloke, not a moron, and that's the memory I cherish. Not the current mob of self-absorbed cretins. Which might be an insult to cretins.

      Commenter
      World's Slowest Winger
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 03, 2014, 7:22PM
  • Yeah! Well done Waratahs.
    And to Sir Richie, the worlds' 'greatest' rugby player - can you remember that your penalty gave the Reds the 2011 win, the same way that you gifted the Waratahs the win last night.

    Commenter
    just the facts
    Date and time
    August 03, 2014, 7:15AM
    • Richie has used the same play for years and won more games for his teams than he has lost, he has played to the rules that he has been able to get away with, he has been one of the greats, but his time has nearly come. Well done the Tah's , it was a great game to be at and one to remember

      Commenter
      bummeroo
      Date and time
      August 03, 2014, 3:07PM
    • Richie didn't gift the 'Tahs the game, that was down to the replacement half back kicking away possession TWICE, in the final 4 minutes. When will players realise that if your opponent hasn't got the ball, they can't score. Crusaders forwards should have just ground their way downfield, then put it out in the corner......game management not what you would expect from such an experienced side.

      Commenter
      Megalania
      Date and time
      August 03, 2014, 3:56PM
  • WELL DONE WARATAHS !!!!

    Commenter
    Crunchy
    Date and time
    August 03, 2014, 7:16AM
    • There seemed to be a fair bit of complacency about this match over in New-Zealand, where many rugby-pundits felt that New South Wales were a bit 'soft'. Well, in fairness the Crusaders have won the last 11 encounters between the 2 sides. Actually, Crusaders Coach Todd Blackadder seemed to 'rate' The Waratahs, judging by his comments pre-match.

      Commenter
      PS
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 03, 2014, 7:21AM
      • Strange question for the Poll: why would a game that has just one NSW, one Qld and one Vic team be a threat to the NRL?

        Commenter
        Phil J.
        Location
        Seaforth
        Date and time
        August 03, 2014, 7:39AM

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