Folau focussed on Waratahs

 Jan 08,2013
Written by: Editor

New Waratahs recruit Israel Folau admits that although facing the British and Irish Lions in a Test would be great, it's not his main goal.

Folau - who joined the Sydney-based outfit after stints in the NRL and AFL - concedes that his inexperience in the 15-man code means he has a long way to go before he will become a realistic option for the Wallabies.

Securing a spot in the Waratahs' matchday squad is the 23-year-old's major goal at the moment.

"Everyone would love to be a part of that big (British and Irish Lions) campaign, but my main focus is to try and get a spot in the team for the Waratahs first," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Hopefully if I am playing good rugby - we will see what happens.

"It would be nice to be a part of it, but I'm not looking that far ahead."

Speaking after a Waratahs training session, head coach Michael Cheika revealed that he is impressed with Folau's transition to rugby.

He didn't look out of place at all," he said.

"He was very heavily involved in the ruck work, and the contact work. He's fitted in beautifully...His character and personality has been brilliantly integrated into the squad and he has been just another one of the lads, now that hype [of his code switch] has all settled down.

"He... trained right through the Christmas. He is working really hard to get himself right. With that attitude, he is going to go a long way."

Folau said one of the biggest changes for him since he moved to rugby from the AFL has been getting used to repeated knocks and bruising.

"I feel pretty good since I started on day one with all the skills and stuff," he explained.

"(But) my body took a bit of time getting used to all the contact.

"'I have missed it for a couple of years, just trying to get my body used to the hits again. That probably took a couple of weeks.

"That wasn't too bad. Now I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable in learning the plays and trying to get to play with a lot of the guys I don't really know.

"We have learned a few plays and (there are) not too many to learn which is good. We will probably take a few (new ones) into every game... we have been taking it pretty slow."

Folau also welcomed the advice he received from dual international Lote Tuqiri on his switch to rugby union.

"I wanted to talk to Lote when I first announced that I was coming over," he said.

"I thought it would be good - (based on) his experience (of) leaving the NRL and coming across."

Tuqiri believes it would be better for Folau to remain on the wing, or play at fullback, before considering a switch inside to midfield.

Although Folau admits that he would be prepared to try out other positions, he is happy with his current role in the back three.

"I am pretty open minded to whatever position 'Cheik' wants me to play in the back-line, but at the moment I have been training at wing and at full-back.

"I certainly feel comfortable in those positions. I guess it is a different story when it's time to play, but we will see how we go."


Tags: Super Rugby |  Waratahs | 

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