Fo­ley primed to put boot in again

NT News - - SPORT -

BERNARD Fo­ley looms as the Wal­la­bies’ X-fac­tor in the Rugby World Cup knock­out stages, with sta­tis­tics peg­ging him as the third-most-lethal sharp shooter re­main­ing.

Tries are ex­pected to be at a pre­mium as the World Cup’s heavy­weight teams go head to head in a tour­na­ment where ever-im­prov­ing de­fences have been dom­i­nant.

Go­ing into the week­end’s quar­ter-fi­nals, the im­por­tance of goal­kick­ers soars and Fo­ley is the man who can give Aus­tralia a vi­tal edge.

Un­der the tute­lage of new Wal­la­bies kick­ing coach Chris Malone, he has be­come one of the most re­li­able in the busi­ness. Fo­ley en­joyed a break­out game against Eng­land, in which he crossed for two tries and kicked seven from seven for a per­sonal haul of 28 points.

But it sim­ply high­lighted what the Wal­la­bies al­ready knew and Fo­ley backed it up with another ter­rific dis­play against Wales, kick­ing his first five penalty at­tempts be­fore botch­ing his fi­nal shot with the re­sult as­sured.

Ac­cord­ing to goal­kick­ing an­a­lysts goal­kick­, Fo­ley has made marked progress in the past two years. Its rat­ing sys­tem is based on the dif­fi­culty of each kick.

In 2014, Fo­ley was ranked 51st of all kick­ers in the Su­per Rugby de­spite guid­ing the NSW Waratahs to a maiden ti­tle – kick­ing at a per­cent­age of 77.2 but with a rat­ing of 4.68.

Through the pool stages of the World Cup, he’s missed just two of 19 at­tempts. Only Wales’ Dan Biggar (15 from 16) and France’s Mor­gan Parra (six from six) have bet­ter rat­ings of play­ers from teams that reached the quar­ter-fi­nals.

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