Wallaby Bernard Foley now wiser and greyer

·2-min read

Bernard Foley says Wallabies fans will see a more well-rounded player with "a few more greys" when he makes his international return in Thursday night's Bledisloe Cup showdown against the All Blacks.

Foley hasn't featured for Australia since the 2019 World Cup, and he thought his days in the Test arena were over after moving to Japan.

But with Quade Cooper (Achilles heel) cut down by injury and James O'Connor falling out of favour, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie sent an SOS to Foley in August to join the squad.

Foley was a spectator for the two recent matches against South Africa, but he has been thrust into the starting line-up against the All Blacks at Marvel Stadium to replace the concussed Noah Lolesio.

The 33-year-old says his three-year stint out of the Australian set-up made him appreciate even more just how special it is to don the Wallabies gold.

He also feels he has grown as both a player and a person during his stint overseas.

"(I have) a few more greys now," Foley said with a laugh.

"I'm a lot more well-rounded in terms of seeing the opportunity and embracing it.

"Last time, there was a lot going on, and I was trying to please a lot of people, and doing it for some of the right reasons and some wrong."

Rennie praised the influence Foley had already had on the group, likening it to when Cooper came into the camp last year.

"They are very similar characters," Rennie said.

"Fantastic work ethic, real massive contribution off the field around meetings, very strong tactical understanding. It's been great having him in."

O'Connor's bid to push his name forward for selection came to a disappointing end when he recently injured himself while playing for club side Brothers.

It continues a frustrating run of injuries for the 32-year-old, whose form has suffered as a consequence.

"We haven't had a full assessment around the state of that, but it's a lower leg injury, potentially syndesmosis," Rennie said.

"We'll find out the extent of that over the next couple of days. There's no point in panicking until we get the full extent of the injury."

Foley says he's not thinking about a dream call-up for the 2023 World Cup in France just yet.

"Not at all," he said.

"For me coming in it's just doing my job. Really embracing the opportunity."