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Foley excited by selection battle with Beale

Bernard Foley is ready for the selection battle with Kurtley Beale

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Article Published: Tuesday 28 January 2014|

Waratahs first five-eighth Bernard Foley says that his rise into the Wallaby ranks last year has made him better prepared to battle with Kurtley Beale for the No.10 jersey.

The Waratahs will play their first Super Rugby warm up match against the Rebels in Albury on Saturday and the selection battle between Foley and Beale for the play making role is of particular interest.

Foley has been the Waratahs first choice No.10 for an extended period but Beale has been recruited from the Rebels for the 2014 season.

Beale can play at 10 or 15 but the Waratahs are unlikely to move Israel Folau after his exceptional debut year so Foley will have competition for his starting place.

Initially though Beale will spend time at 15 as Folau is likely to be rested early on but when he returns the coaches will then most likely rotate Beale and Foley to see what works best.

Instead of being daunted by the selection battle ahead of him Foley says that he is relishing the chance to go up against the 39 Test star Beale.

"It's exciting. It is a good challenge for both of us, and healthy competition should bring the best out of you," Foley told The Daily Telegraph.

"Hopefully it will be a positive going forward, and both of us can contribute and be a part of a successful year."

Beale missed the second half of last year's rugby season to have shoulder surgery and he says he feels strong and admits that given Folau's form he has been eyeing Foley's jersey.

"Position wise I'm definitely putting my foot forward for fly half," Beale said.

"Obviously Izzy had a stellar season there last year and really filled that fullback role really well. But at the end of the day wherever "Cheik" wants me and feels that where I need to be I'm happy to be there and do the job for the boys."

While Beale's form over the two years in Melbourne with the Rebels was inconsistent he did enjoy his best form when he was wearing the number 10 jersey.

However Beale will also have his work cut out for him as Foley's game management suits Cheika's attacking style and he finished the year in the top two with Aaron Cruden for try assists and line break assists.

Under past coaches the Waratahs were unsettled at 10 in selections so Foley is the first consistent performer Waratah No. 10 jersey since Beale led them to the final in 2008.

Foley who became the second Waratah No. 10 to play the entire season unbroken since Beale and three starts short of Beale's 2008-09 record for most consecutive games in the Waratahs five-eighth jersey at 21.

"We have never actually played together; my debut game was his final game (in the Waratahs' 2011 semi-final loss) before he went down south," Foley said.

Foley's form for the Waratahs in 2013 earned him a Wallabies call up under Ewen McKenzie and he scored a try on debut in Rosario. He went on to finish the year with four caps and believes the confidence he gained from paying at international level will improve his game in 2014.

"It was great to get a taste of that and be in that environment," said Foley of being in the Wallabies camp.

"You see where you have got to get to, and also find the true weaknesses and strengths of your own game when you are measuring them up to the elite players of not only your own country, but players around the world as well," Foley said.

"You do get a lot of confidence and hopefully this is the time now I can come back and implement some new things, and things I learned being away (with the Wallabies); both the strengths and in the areas I can find improvement."

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