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Waratahs won't play risky rugby to be exciting

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Article Published: Tuesday 7 February 2012|

New Waratahs coach Michael Foley says that they will adopt a new style of playing in this season's Super Rugby tournament but adds that they won't start playing risky rugby.

Crowds for home Waratahs matches in Sydney have been dropping in recent years and pressure is coming on the team to be more adventurous and to attack more instead of kicking ball away aimlessly.

Australian Rugby Union chief John O'Neill has called on the Waratahs, Brumbies, Force and Rebels to play more exciting rugby like the Reds in order to boost attendances.

Foley says that they are aware that the public want to be entertained more and knows that the style of their game has to be more attractive to watch but he says kicking will still be a part of the game and they won't suddenly start playing mindless, risky football.

Foley, who replaced Chris Hickey as Waratahs coach, says that they have spent weeks working on the new game plan.

"Last year we were really attempting to score a lot of tries, but the problem for us was that we would find that plan A would fail, and our plan B was to kick defensively."

"Since then a lot of the thinking we have done revolves around realising that we are part of the way there," Foley told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Yes, we really want to score tries. We've worked on that, and we can do that.

"But what we need to understand is that there is a time, such as if the (opposition) back three are giving you an opportunity, where kicking is actually a really good thing to do to get the ball back. So we've been saying that kicking is not evil, but how we kick is the problem."

Foley says that in the new game plan the decision to kick will be lft to the halfback and the five-eighth on the field.

"The stand-out feature over the pre-season has been the control shown by the No. 9s and 10s. "

"Luke (Burgess) has left, and so we have worked hard with all of the guys we have in those positions. They have worked well as a team within the team, and we have been really impressed with them," Foley said.

At 9 the Waratahs have replaced Burgess with South African Sarel Pretorius and he will have back up from Grayson Hart and Brendan McKibbin his back-ups, while five-eighth will be filled by either Berrick Barnes, Bernard Foley or Daniel Halangahu.

Foley says that he expects the Waratahs to start slowly, "We won't play our best footy in the first round, but we want to play well enough to win. That's our goal."

"The difference between what we're doing now and what we did last year is that there is a clearer perspective on what we are trying to do, and if it doesn't work, how we will handle that to get a better outcome," Foley said.

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