Rugby

Folau stays a Wallaby - for now

2014-06-16 15:04
Israel Folau (Getty Images)

Melbourne - The annual hullabaloo that accompanies rugby league's 'State of Origin' series in Australia has not gone unnoticed by dual international Israel Folau, but the Wallabies fullback said he remained committed to the 15-man game through 2015.

An explosive runner with 11 tries from 17 Tests, 25-year-old Folau is by some distance Australian rugby's most prized asset, a pin-up boy for both the Wallabies and Sydney-based Super Rugby team, the Waratahs.

He remains contracted to the Australian Rugby Union until 2015, ostensibly locking him in for next year's World Cup in England, but the agreement has done little to quell speculation he might tear it up to chase a big-money deal overseas or return to Australia's National Rugby League.

Following media reports last week that French giants Toulon are woo-ing the fullback, Folau has this week had ample reminder of the heights of his former career, with the all-encompassing hype of the NRL's showpiece 'State of Origin', a three-match series played between Australia's premier rugby league states Queensland and New South Wales.

Folau's exploits with Queensland are etched in 'Origin' folklore, his man-of-the-match performance as a teenager in the 2008 series-decider ensuring the 'Maroons' clinched the title for a third successive year.

Queensland have not lost since, but the series has reached fever pitch this week with New South Wales a good chance to break their drought in Sydney on Wednesday after upsetting the champions at Lang Park last month.

"I miss it a little bit to be quite honest," Folau told reporters in Sydney of the series, which packs out stadiums and generates a huge TV audience Down Under.

"But in saying that I'm grateful I've been there before and I'm enjoying where I am right now.

"There's a lot of options that's going to be presented when that time comes," Folau added.

"I'll have a look at everything and see what I do from there.

"I'm signed to the 'Tahs for next year so that's all I'm thinking about.

"I'll assess as we get closer but at this stage I'm just thinking about today."

Folau, who also passed a lucrative, if unsuccessful, two-year stint playing top-flight Australian Rules football before crossing to Super Rugby, joked about trying to get tickets to the second Origin game at Sydney's Olympic Stadium where pundits have tipped the crowd to test the 84 000 capacity.

He would have had little trouble sourcing a bunch of them for Australia's second test against France in Melbourne on Saturday, where a disappointing crowd of 27 000 saw the Wallabies win a try-less contest 6-0 and occasionally jeered the team for playing a stodgy, territorial game.

Though sealing the three-match series, the Ewen McKenzie-coached side were lambasted on social media and urged by local pundits not to repeat the kicking tactics in the final match in Sydney on Saturday, lest they be boo-ed off the ground.

Almost expected to score a try in every match he plays, Folau had a relatively subdued evening at Docklands Stadium and also hoofed a few innocuous kicks back at the French rather than run the ball from the Wallabies' half.

He suggested the tactic wasn't entirely to his liking.

"There was a fair bit of kicking there and we did the same, so we have to find a good balance between the both and this week we'd like to have a bit of a crack and try to score some points," he said.

Read more on:    australia  |  israel folau  |  rugby
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