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3553 Topic: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
sasuke uchiha

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 5836
israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 29, 2013, 20:17:07

Star recruit Israel Folau to be given first crack at fullback for NSW Waratahs' pre-season matches

 

Israel Folau has revealed he's spent most of his NSW pre-season training at fullback as the Waratahs weigh up throwing their star recruit straight into the key position.

 

 

Folau says he doesn't yet have a preference on where he lines-up during Super Rugby, but believes playing in the No.15 shirt during Waratahs trial matches is the best way for him to get a handle on rugby.

The cross-code convert seems certain to at least get a run at fullback during the Waratahs' opening trial against Melbourne in Hobart on Saturday night.

Coach Michael Cheika hasn't decided on the make-up of his back three for the season proper, but wants all the candidates to be as adept at fullback as on the wing.

Cheika is desperate for attacking weapon Folau to see as much space and quality ball as possible, and combined with his excellent skills under the high ball and kicking ability, fullback might prove to be his best position.

Folau isn't making any bold statements but agrees with Cheika that time at the back will give him a speedy education on the intricacies of rugby.

"I feel fine with that (fullback). I've been training most of the time at fullback so it doesn't feel any different and I'm looking forward to the challenge on Saturday," said Folau, who never played fullback in the NRL.

"We'll see how we go in trial games but at this stage I actually have no preferences.

"Fullback is probably the best way to learn and like Cheik says, you can see everything unfolding in attack. There will be a lot of space so that will be good."

Ruck work shapes as one of the biggest adjustments for AFL defector Folau, however Cheika says his star signing seems "comfortable" with that area of the game.

Cheika named a 28-man squad devoid of most of his Wallabies for the first hit-out against the Rebels - with Test stars likely to return in time for the third and final trial against the Crusaders on February 14 at Allianz Stadium.

The new coach wants to see combinations develop and for Folau to feel relaxed and free.

"My biggest thing for him is to let him have the space and enjoy himself and not get too beat up about it all," Cheika said.

"He should have a good time. There's no competition points on the line at this stage so I want guys to get a good hit out and not get too carried away by it all."

Waratahs trial squad: Michael Alaalatoa, Richard Aho, Kotoni Ale, Ollie Atkins, Peter Betham, Wayne Borzak, Tom Carter, Cam Crawford, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley (vice captain), Grayson Hart, Michael Hodge, Luke Holmes, Rob Horne, AJ Gilbert, Tom Kingston, Matt Lucas, Brendan McKibbin (captain), Tolu Latu, Dane Maraki, Elijah Niko, Greg Peterson, Jeremy Tilse (vice captain), Lopeti Timani, Peter Samu, Will Skelton, John Ulugia, Ben Volavola.


sasuke uchiha

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 5836
RE: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 29, 2013, 20:24:40

folau at fullback is not the way to go IMO, but i am dying to watch the games involving folau.
waratahs have already made their moneys worth with folaus signature, cos any league fan will be keen to keep tabs on the young star.


IMO folaus place in the team will be on the wing, he will thrive on the wing much the same way that tiquiri and sailor did when they converted from league.
playing on the wing will also give folau a better understanding of whats what in rugby. fullback could levae him vulnerable.
however preseason games are what these types of experiments are for, so i shouldnt jump the band wagon too soon i guess.

can only wait and see how folau will turn out, but im very excited at the prospect of watching him play.


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 3695
RE: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 29, 2013, 20:29:19

 Sasuke, agreed on positional play he could be vulnerable. 

From what I seen him play he will however be exceptional under the high ball if he gets the defensive systems quick. His ability in the air will probably beat any rugby union player right now, and this is probably why Ausie Rules wanted to try him out.

-Teams should probably target him early on with kicks to the corners and behind him to see how he does.

 


Brycy

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1320
RE: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 29, 2013, 23:55:08

Logical i guess to put your best player at fullback but maybe not in their first season. Shows how much confidence the coach has in him.

I would use him in the centres as thats where he's played before albeit in a different code. Probably inside centre as he reminds me alot of SBW and similarly will be more than a handfull wrapping him up.

He's also played on the wing but not as easy to get involved out there especially if they can't get the ball wide often enough to take advantage of his attacking prowess.


sasuke uchiha

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 5836
RE: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 30, 2013, 02:17:54

@brycy,

i think u can remember timana tahu, his performance in union was a real eye opener for me in terms of league players makeing the transition to union and not making the grade, something i never once thought possible considering how much of a devestating winger he was in league.

its true folas spent some time in the centers, but that was with the broncos, i cant actually recall him ever playing center when he was at the storm, correct me if im wrong.
i do vaguley remember him playing center for the maroons, but not for the kangaroos. as good as hew was a center especially for the broncos, i felt his best moments were when he was on the wing.

good point about him hardly getting the ball out on the wing and his ability under the high ball will be a remendous advatage to him, especially with the calling of the mark rule in the 22.
still a bit iffy on him at fullback, but i think thats why chieka has put him there for the trials.
if fit, IMO lachlan turner is the man for the 15 with folau and mitchell for the wing, given how [removed] the waratahs mid field was though with rob borring horne, maybe folau at center would be a good thing, surely he cant be any worse than timana tahu?


sasuke uchiha

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 5836
RE: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 30, 2013, 02:31:31

@sharkbok,

 

positional play is exactly my worry, but matt rogers, sailor and tiquri did more than all right, so maybe folau will too.

kicks to the corner behind him would be smart, from what i can remember his speed of the mark when turning around wasnt the best, but once he hit top gear, sonic boooooom.

biggest misconception with folau being signed to GWS is they sought after folau. the truth is it was folau who sought after them, a move he did when karmicheal hunt the first professional player to play league, union and aussie rules on a professional level (and in the same callender year BTW) announced his million dollar signing with new club the gold coast suns.
aussie rules is the most professional out fit in australia, even more professional than SANZAR in the way they conduct their code and they were on the verge of announcing a new team called the GWS greater west sydney giants. this is obviously in west syrdney, but more importantly it is league terriory with a huge population base.

folau being such a recognised figure in league was then a fantastic opportunity for the AFL to promote the code and team in a league pro city and more importnatly a league pro area.
it was reported by fairfax media that the money folau was going to make if he had stayed for his whole contract, was more than repaid in team GWS first year with the promos they ran of folau, before the team had even stepped out for their first game.

thats why it wasnt his ability to take the highball which was why they took him, cos thats just a basic fundamental in AFL, look up some of the best marks in AFL and u will see the likes of jurrah, rioli who are true superstars of the aussie rules game.

it would be like a rugby union trying to sign a reciver from the AFL, just because he can run with the ball, thers a lot more to it than that.


Brycy

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1320
RE: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 30, 2013, 07:36:58

 

Sasu...How many league converts have been stuck out on the wing i've lost count. Pointless exercise perhaps if you've ever played out on the wing. Very limited amount of ball especially if yr outside some greedy centre that never passes. You can risk coming in off yr wing to become more involved perhaps but tricky to know how and when if you're new to rugby. Hardly the place to put someone previously described as a superstar centre. Thats Folau i'm talking about now.

SBW comes along and shows the most effective way to use a league convert so things can only improve from earlier days where guys like Tahu were mismanaged perhaps.

How long do you think it will be before the media start making comparisons between Folau and SBW.  Not long...


sasuke uchiha

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 5836
RE: israel folau to be given first crack at fullback for waratahs' pre-season matches,,,
January 30, 2013, 15:32:57

@brycy,

good call on the rugby nous to know when to come out from ur wing, but sailor and tiquiri were pretty succesful and they were stuck out on the wing, but prob the other good league convert in the backs would be jason robinson. that dude wa a gun, he even makes my all time team.

i didnt mind folau at center in league, but i found him more effective on the wing his size might determine his placings in the centers for union though, big fast centers are all the rave now.

while i rated him big time in league, ive seen players of his calibre before, SBW on the other hand was a real head turner, one of the best league players ive ever seen.
tahu has made me not jump the gun ever again when it comes to get too far ahead with league converts progress, but the signs of folau are promising.
 


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