Bledisloe Cup Wallabies fly-half Bernard Foley is still trying to digest a dramatic finish

Wallabies fly-half Bernard Foley is still trying to process what happened at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night, revealing there was some confusion among his teammates before French referee Mathieu Raynal made the call that will go down in Bledisloe Cup history.

Foley fronted the media in Melbourne on Friday morning, the experienced playmaker just hours away from the decision that will forever line his Test career.

With just over a minute left on the clock in Bledisloe I, Raynal awarded the Wallabies a penalty after Lalakai Foketi managed to get onto the ball and isolate All Blacks hooker Dane Coles. But with the Wallabies forwards engaged in a huddle and Foley refraining from kicking for the touchline, Raynal stopped to play and awarded the All Blacks a scrum, which Jordie Barrett would eventually score from a few phases later to grab a 39-27 victory from the jaws of defeat.

With only a few hours of sleep, the reality of what happened at Marvel Stadium was still sinking in for the 33-year-old Foley.

“It’s still kind of unknown or trying to digest the whole situation,” Foley said. “When we say that, it’s done now. We have to try to move on and take it as it is.

“Just extremely proud of how the lads continued to back up through the game. It was a great arm-wrestling and advertisement for Test match rugby. For the lads to stay in the game and come back from that deficit and a couple of men in the bin … to have a chance to win it at the end was pretty incredible.”

Raynal had warned Australia about wasting time on a few occasions earlier in the match, one of which came when they prepared a goal-line drop after holding up the All Blacks.

But confusion reigned in the closing stages, as time was stopped, then back, and Foketi, sensing that Raynal might be about to punish the Wallabies, began shouting at his backline teammate to take the kick to the touchline.

“There was a little bit of confusion just in terms of personnel on the field for us,” Foley said of the incident.

“Just trying to get a call, it was pretty loud in the stadium there with 55,000 people. My conversion with him [Raynal] was that he asked me to hurry, but that time was free. He didn’t really mention that there was going to be further action.”

Unsurprisingly, both coaches saw the referee’s decision differently, with Wallabies boss Dave Rennie doing his best to play a diplomatic line but ultimately concluding that Raynal needed to show a little more “feeling” for the situation.

However, his All Blacks counterpart, Ian Foster, described the ruling as “clear cut”.

When asked about the All Blacks coach’s comments by Sydney Morning HeraldFoley said he found them “disappointing” and that a simple “no comment” would have sufficed.

Australia must now recover for the return leg in Auckland next week, at the Eden Park graveyard where they last won in 1986.

Because of his performance in Melbourne, Foley could retain his position at No.10 even if Noah Lolesio is fit, but the Wallabies have injury concerns in both skipper James Slipper and back-rower Rob Leota, the latter of whom is highly unlikely to play. he was seen on crutches after leaving the field in the first half.

Australia also have a court hearing for Darcy Swain to face, after the replacement lock was cited for a difficult tackle that left Quinn Tupaea writhing in pain and likely to have suffered a serious ACL injury.

Whatever the injury and suspension case, the Wallabies can only dust themselves off and look to replicate a performance that was full of heart – Rennie also praised the clinical edge his side showed in their stirring 18-point comeback – but a who fell short where it matters: on the scoreboard.

“There’s still a lot to play for,” Foley said. “It’s a bit disappointing and bittersweet that we’re not playing for trophies and championships. To go there and win at Eden Park is a massive carrot for us as a team.

“It’s also a chance to build on what he put down yesterday is something that’s going to be really important for this squad. The guys will recover, take a few days to get their bodies in place and then we’ll rip into the preparations.”

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