Melbourne - Wallabies fullback Israel Folau isn't concerned by Ireland’s
defensive tactics which countered his aerial dominance in Melbourne last week.
Australia's attack coach Stephen Larkham questioned the
legality of the Six Nations champions' tactics on Monday, saying the fullback
was being checked in his kick-chase attempts, but Folau only had compliments
for his opponents’ defence.
“I never look for excuses, they escorted really well,” he
told Rugby Australia's official website.
“What I do think in terms of our team is that we can execute
a lot better in terms of the kicks.
“I think on the weekend, we seemed to kick it a little bit
further than what we wanted and probably a little bit more infield than what it
“So, hopefully the kicks on the weekend will be executed a
lot better but on the weekend they did a great job of expecting that and they
flood plenty of numbers into their left side, which is something for us as a
team, we've got to realise that and understand and notice that.
“If Ireland are doing that, there's space elsewhere on the
field, so I think that's something we took out of that game and hopefully we
can execute on the run, going into the game.”
The Wallabies had little possession in Melbourne and Folau’s
limited chances were shut down by Ireland, and the fullback said his focus was
on trying to get a sense of fulfilment, that has been lacking in the opening
“I think the most exciting thing for as a group is we had
that feeling coming off the back of the last two weeks, even the win in
Brisbane, we still kind of felt unfulfilled in terms of the way that we
played,” said Folau.
“The reason why I felt unfulfilled (was I was) not getting
my hands on the ball as much I would like.
“Hopefully going into this weekend I can find myself doing
that a bit more and working with Kurtley and Bernard to find those
opportunities but definitely going into the game, (I’m) wanting to look for
those opportunities and get my hands on the ball."
If Ireland do turn to the same tactics in Sydney, Folau said
the option was there for Australia to change things up to take advantage of
Ireland's commitment to one part of the ground.
“That's the growth area in terms of us as a team but also
the vision and the game smarts from our playmakers and not being afraid to play
that type of way even if it's inside our 22,” he added.
“I guess if we can play like that and play a lot more consistent
in that type of way, I think it'll open up a lot more opportunities across the
whole team in terms of anywhere on the field.”
Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby defended his side’s
approach to the aerial contests in Melbourne, when asked about the criticism on
“We've done nothing that we haven't done all season, I just
think on the weekend we just showed a lot more urgency to get back and support
the player receiving the ball, making sure that once that player has caught the
ball and landed that we resource the ruck,” he said.
“I think that was an area we came off second-best in in
Brisbane, so there'll always be things that opposition and ourselves feel that
we maybe didn't get the rub of the green but we're just asking the players to
work incredibly hard to support those guys who are receiving the kick and
that's all we did on the weekend.
“We didn't feel like we did anything that any other team in
the world isn't doing.”