For Wallabies fullback Israel Folau, the Rugby World Cup was a learning curve that he is confident he will be able to build on.
The 26-year-old entered the tournament as one of the most talked about players but injury curtailed his influence and his confidence.
Folau played his best game of the tournament in the final, after missing Australia’s quarter-final against Scotland with an ankle injury and playing 60 minutes against Argentina in the semi-final before being replaced.
Making 99 metres in the match, the best of any Wallaby, Folau started to return to the damaging attacking form he has shown in the past with Australia.
After the match, Folau said he would be able to bounce back after what has been a difficult month or so for him.
“It’s been challenging but it’s been a great learning experience for me,” he said.
“Those are the cards I’ve been dealt with through the tournament, you learn a lot from that and I’ll bounce back as the year goes on.”
Folau will head to Japan after the World Cup to take up a contract with the NNT Docomo Red Hurricanes, a route teammates Bernard Foley and Ben McCalman are also following, before returning for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
He will be 30 for the 2019 tournament, to be hosted by Japan, still a very real possibility of being a part of the Wallabies’ plans.
The NSW Waratah said he hoped the Wallabies’ run through the tournament would help build momentum in rugby in Australia.
“I think for us to be a part of the final, it’s had a huge impact on rugby back at home and it’s great to see.
“I think it's attracting a lot more supporters and young kids wanting to play the game which is i guess part of the goal of playing the game and that’s what we want to see.”
“Hopefully we’ll see that develop and get better as we go.”