Australian Rugby Union has today welcomed the latest addition to the Super Rugby playing ranks – former rugby league international Israel Folau.
The 23-year-old, who cut ties last month with AFL club Greater Western Sydney, has joined the NSW Waratahs on a one-year contract.
ARU Acting CEO Matt Carroll said Folau’s presence in the Waratahs squad in 2013 would provide an exciting addition to the Super Rugby landscape.
“ARU has supported the Waratahs in their recruitment of a player whose profile and natural athleticism has the potential to deliver a further X-factor to the Waratahs next year,” Mr Carroll said.
“Depending on his development as a Rugby player, there is an opportunity for Folau to achieve higher honours, in Sevens as well as the 15-a-side game.
“Sevens is now an Olympic sport and we are keen to build depth and profile for the game in the lead-up to Rio in 2016.”
Renowned for his prolific try-scoring record in rugby league, and his ability under the high ball, Folau becomes the first player of the modern era to play three codes of football domestically in Australia.
Folau spent two seasons with the Greater Western Sydney Giants after a celebrated rugby league career with the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos.
He set a new record for most tries by a debutant – 21 – in his first season with the Storm and also became the youngest player to represent the Australian rugby league team, at just 18 years and 194 days.