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Wallaby Folau staying put

2015-11-04 07:17
Israel Folau (Gallo)

Sydney - Australia fullback Israel Folau rates the Rugby World Cup as the highlight of his varied career and has reiterated that he will be staying in the 15-man code for at least another three years.

The Wallabies touched down in Australia on Wednesday morning, three days after their impressive World Cup campaign ended in a 34-17 defeat to the All Blacks in the final at Twickenham.

Folau, a former rugby league international, was not on top form in the latter rounds of the tournament because of an ankle injury but said the overall experience had been outstanding.

"Being part of a World Cup on an international level, it doesn't get any higher than that, so for me it's got to be at the top of my list," Folau told reporters at Sydney airport.

The 26-year-old's path to union from league via two years in Australian Rules football means he is regularly the subject of local media speculation about his future and the last week has been no exception.

"For me, these reports have been a bit frustrating because I've only just signed a three-year contract extension with ... the Australian Rugby Union, and that deal hasn't even started yet," he wrote in a column on the Fox Sports website.

"For the record, I'll be here giving my all until the end of 2018 at the very least, and I couldn't be happier."

Coach Michael Cheika, who was among the group of players and staff welcomed with cheers and applause in Sydney, said his drive for continual improvement in Australian rugby would go on.

New Zealand, the first team to win back-to-back World Cups, were the benchmark against which other countries must measure themselves and Cheika said it would be foolish to expect them to get weaker even with the loss of several experienced players.

"Our goal is to improve, not to be waiting for other teams to go worse because of this or that reason," he said.

"They've got so much depth over there. I think they will only improve as well."

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