Balls up in air as Foley waits

Nick Taylor
James O'Connor in action for the Wallabies against Argentina. Picture: Getty Images.

The James O'Connor saga and the delay by the Australian Rugby Union in deciding on a Wallabies "top-up" for winger Nick Cummins have forced Western Force coach Michael Foley into a recruitment juggling act and waiting game.

He has a new backs vacancy, with centre Winston Stanley leaving for the Highlanders, and a possible second if Cummins does not return.

If O'Connor signs, Foley will be waiting on Cummins. If either O'Connor or Cummins does not put pen to paper, he will need one new player and if neither returns, he will need two signings.

So while he continues negotiations with O'Connor and Cummins, Foley has to keep talks open with possible replacements, putting their careers in limbo.

"We are very keen to retain Nick and will keep exploring with James and see what direction that takes us," Foley said.

"We are not waiting for James, it is about us and him being comfortable to the point we want to get to.

"There is no anxiety about time and, while negotiations are ongoing, there are alternatives.

"I'm pleased with the way the squad is developing and I am prepared to be patient."

Foley has re-signed forward Rory Walton to his extended playing squad and added hooker Robbie Abel, who is playing with Northland in New Zealand's ITM Cup, and second-rower Adam Coleman from the Waratahs.