Dunedin - Don’t rule out seeing more of the running banter battle
between Bernard Foley and Sonny Bill Williams, should the latter be cleared to
play in Saturday's Test between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Dunedin.
Foley and Williams played out a war of words for much
of last week's Test in Sydney, with the
All Blacks centre rubbing Foley's hair after a desperate effort from the
Australian playmaker stopped Beauden Barrett scoring off a charge down.
“He was just complimenting me on my haircut,” Foley joked.
“It was nothing really - just enjoying the battle and
enjoying the contest of the game and that's probably going to continue.
“It's probably not something I engage in all the time but as
players we have to know what's going to get us in the right mind and what puts
us in the place where we can compete and keep competing, so that's the players
who have to find their own way and allow them to perform at their best."
While the Wallabies’ attack sharpened up in the latter
stages of the 54-34 loss, Foley said the only way was up for a back-line that
was still in essence a fledgling combination.
Kurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi featured in their first Tests
since 2016, and first matches of any kind in more than a month, while debutant
Curtis Rona had a baptism of fire in a brutal opener.
“There's guys in the setup for the first time and I think we
can only get better,” said Foley.
“We've identified areas we can get better in and we've put
things in place now that we'll better this weekend.”
Dane Haylett-Petty looks a strong chance to make it into the
match day 23 after a biceps injury, with Tuesday’s training session his biggest
Whether Foley will have the chance to reopen his battle with
Williams is unclear, with the All Blacks centre still under a potential cloud
for this weekend’s game, with SANZAAR reportedly opening a review into a missed
head knock on Saturday.
The All Blacks have already confirmed one change to their
team to be unveiled on Thursday - also because of a head knock - with reserve
prop Wyatt Crockett suffering the blow during the 54-34 dissection of the
Wallabies in Sydney.
All Blacks assistant Ian Foster said inside centre Williams
wasn't pushed at Tuesday's session but emerged afterwards with no concussion
Williams was also symptom-free in the immediate aftermath of
the Sydney Test, with the All Blacks admitting they hadn't seen the early
collision which seemingly left the 32-year-old disorientated.
An independent match doctor also missed Williams' adverse
Foster said they have since monitored the cross-code star
"The doc has done what he always does when there is a
suspicion of something," Foster said.
"He was held back a little bit today so we could make
sure he was absolutely clear but the signs are really positive."