Foley returns following a concussion

    2017-03-22 07:21

    Sydney - Australia flyhalf Bernard Foley has been selected to make his return to Super Rugby for the Waratahs following an extended break for a concussion.

    Foley has missed the first four rounds of the tournament and the Sydney-based Waratahs have struggled for direction, with heavy losses to the Lions and Sharks and a 28-12 loss to the Canberra-based Brumbies following their only win over the season in the opening match against the Force.

    Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has reshuffled his backline ahead of Friday's match against the winless Melbourne Rebels, with Foley returning at No 10 and fellow Wallabies Israel Folau and Rob Horne making positional changes and Nick Phipps dropped to the reserves bench.

    The experiment with Folau in the centres is over, at least for now, with the powerful runner reverting to his more customary position at fullback. Horne moved from the wing to the centres as cover for Folau.

    "We need to get our combinations clicking. Up until now we have been far too inconsistent and the mistakes have been on us to fix," Gibson said. "We are pleased to have Bernard back. His absence has certainly been felt in those first four rounds."

    The Australian franchises have struggled badly so far, combining for just five wins in the first four rounds - with Queensland's win over the Sharks in the first round accounting for the only win over a non-Australian team.

    The Brumbies lead the Australian conference with 10 points from two wins, but are in eighth place overall behind three New Zealand, three South African teams and the Argentina-based Jaguares, who are in fourth spot.

    Quade Cooper, Foley's main rival for the starting role at flyhalf for Australia, was suspended this week for three matches for a dangerous tackle in Queensland's 44-14 weekend loss to the Lions in Johannesburg.

    At least one of the five Australian franchises is in danger of being shut down or merged amid a pending restructure of the Super Rugby tournament, which has had 18 teams in four conferences for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

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    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
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