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Thread: Michael Foley takes his leave with Australia's spride restored

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    Michael Foley takes his leave with Australia's spride restored

    Michael Foley takes his leave with Australia's spride restored

    By Wayne Smith
    November 27, 2008 AUSTRALIANS don't like to see their representatives bend the knee to anyone, let alone to England, and quickly turn their backs on anyone deemed not to have stood by his mates in a fight.

    That's what happened in the aftermath of Australia's humiliation by the England scrum in London on November 12, 2005, when the noses of the Wallabies front-rowers were literally rubbed into the Twickenham mud.

    Most sporting defeats at the hands of England tend to be taken fairly sportingly, if through gritted teeth, but this was beyond the pale.

    The Wallabies not only bent their knees, they were forced to their knees by the vastly superior England scrum. And as for standing by their mates in a fight, the Australian forwards were so fragmented they didn't even qualify for a collective noun like "pack".

    Watch the Wallabies play Wales in Cardiff LIVE on Fox Sports 2 from 130am (EDT) on Sunday 30 November

    Michael Foley was the assistant coach at Bath that day, and he watched in dismay as Australia turned its back on the players it deemed to have disgraced the country's colours.

    A few months later he was appointed the Wallabies' scrum guru under head coach John Connolly. What Foley discovered was not that the players had let down the country, but that the country - or more specifically Australian rugby - had let the players down.

    They wanted to improve, but no one had showed them how. Not properly at least.
    For the last three years that has been Foley's job, giving them a set piece education. But that's only a small part of what he has taught them over the past 38 Tests but now he's about to leave.

    Saturday's Test against Wales will be his last as a Wallabies coach, he has signed on with the Waratahs as their new forwards coach.

    "People talk about playing for the Wallabies but what they're actually taking about is representing Australia and that begs the question: what is it to be Australian?" Foley said. Like all good coaches, he has the answer.

    "All Australians love to see Australians standing strong, win, lose or draw," he said. "You can look at an Australian who is really putting in and you can say he's really indicative of what our short history is all about - that striving against the odds.

    "John Williamson sums it up really well when he talks about standing by your mate when he's in a fight."

    Through thick and thin, Foley has stood by his embattled outcasts.

    Slowly but surely, he has equipped them to fight the old enemy on its own terms. And so it was that the Wallabies returned to Twickenham on November 15 and met the enemy head on.

    Once the smoke of battle had cleared, the tighthead count read 2-0 in favour of the Wallabies, and Andy Sheridan, the scourge of the Australians back in 2005, had retreated from the field clutching his injured neck.

    Fair enough, the Wallabies forwards went and ruined this fairytale storyline by getting lazy against France last weekend and conceding a penalty try, but by that stage they had built up enough brownie points for one bad scrum to be marked down as an aberration. Through it all, Foley has stood by his mates.

    "The progress that this group of young Australian fellows has made throughout the last couple of years is a tribute to them," he said.

    Not so, said Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore. Rather, the progress they have made is a tribute to Foley. "I've never had a better coach," Moore said.

    "Any improvements I've made in my set piece play have been as a result of his work.",...-23217,00.html

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  2. #2
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    I'll give Foley marks for being able to improve his Hooker, still far from convinced we have made any significant inroads with the Props.

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    I'll second that Burgs, still not blown away by the turnaround....Wales will be a good test i reckon...

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