Foley to be grilled by board

2012-06-26 09:17

Sydney - Waratahs coach Michael Foley will appear before the NSW Rugby board on Tuesday to account for his side's woeful performance this season.

A Waratahs spokesperson would not reveal the time the board was meeting, but a decision on Foley's future, as well as the fate of other coaching staff, is not expected to be made immediately.

The side is in 11th spot on the Super Rugby ladder after going into the three-week Test break on a six-game losing streak.

Seven of the side's 10 losses this season were by six points or less and three of those were one-point nailbiters. The other three losses were to the Chiefs by 17 points, the Brumbies by 17 and their most recent defeat, at the hands of the Hurricanes, was a 21-point embarrassment.

Foley has coached the side through a difficult season since taking on the top job late last year. He lost the experience of Test players Drew Mitchell, Lachie Turner, Rocky Elsom and Dan Vickerman ,and was forced to blood talented but inexperienced young backs Bernard Foley and Tom Kingston, while trying a number of combinations in the backs, with varying degrees of success.

Back-rower Pat McCutcheon and prop Paddy Ryan were also lost to injury early in the season, while the five-eighth-halfback partnership has struggled to find a consistent footing on the field, buffeted as it was by an early-season groin injury to Berrick Barnes and a mid-season switch from Sarel Pretorius to Brendan McKibbin as first-choice No.9.

Foley and his strength and conditioning staff were also left to nurse many of their Test forwards back to full fitness after a long international season last year.

Captain Benn Robinson has done well in the leadership role but only took it up after the Waratahs tried Daniel Halangahu there early on and, most recently, flirted with starting regular skipper Elsom.

The Waratahs get their Wallabies players back on Thursday and must now prepare for two final derby matches against the Brumbies and the Reds. Their performances could be crucial to Foley's future.

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