Sydney - Waratahs coach Michael Foley might have watched his season slip well
and truly through his fingers in Cape Town on Saturday, but he
won't tell you that.
The Waratahs notched their fourth straight loss, their eighth from 12
games, and suffered the further indignity of sliding down the Australian
conference ladder past last year's wooden spooners, the Rebels.
Not even the playing return this weekend of Test winger Drew Mitchell
and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau appear to be able to save the Waratahs now.
But Foley steadfastly refused to look further ahead than the next game
against the Cheetahs.
''For us it's about going into the next game and focusing on doing the
things that we can control well and seeing what happens after that,'' he
said. ''I think people are chasing a different answer from me and I
don't have one.''
He did acknowledge the frustration of watching a side much better than
its results go close, again, to matching it with one of the best sides
in the Super Rugby competition but fall short - again.
''I think [it is] frustrating for everybody,'' he said. ''I think you
come a long way to a place that very, very few teams win at … and I
think we did a lot right in that game.
''I know without the result, and particularly in context of the rest of
the season, people will look to scrutinise different things [and] there
is no doubt that there were tiny little things in that game that we
believed we could have controlled and that would have brought us the
''So we're obviously disappointed but from my own personal perspective
I'm pretty proud of the boys and what they put in there [on Saturday].''
The Waratahs corrected some errant first-half play to score the majority
of points in the second period, but the renowned Stormers defence,
helped by the visitors dropping balls and conceding penalties, contained
''We had a bit of a plan on how we were going to try and disrupt that and we went about doing it pretty well,'' Foley said.
''There were a couple of little things in the first half that probably
let us down but the margins are very fine there, and we went out there
and we tried to chase that score down … and ended up winning the
second half 10-3, but we probably left ourselves a little too much to do
after that first half.''
He rejected criticism of the side's judgment around the use of
contestable kicks. ''Any time we put our foot anywhere near the ball
people criticise us,'' Foley said.
''At the end of the last game against the Bulls we were the third least
kicking team in the competition. Last night you could have broken it
down kick by kick [and] there were a few kicks that may have been the
wrong options, but overall I thought the boys tried to interpret the
Second-rower Dean Mumm will probably not be available to play against
the Cheetahs after taking a nasty knock to his head, while Sitaleki
Timani and Rocky Elsom are to have scans on their shoulders.
Foley questioned a sideline blunder in the first half that put two balls
on the field, one of which momentarily confused halfback Brendan
McKibbin, in the lead-up to a Stormers try.
''Whether or not it would have had any impact on what happened, I think
anything like that in that crucial part of the field needs to be ruled
on,'' he said.
''I thought there were a couple of decisions in that part of the field which left me scratching my head.''