Folau relishing the chance to refresh

International
by Sam Phillips

Israel Folau is relishing the chance to have a couple of months off, having played non-stop since starting his illustrious multi-code career at the Melbourne Storm a decade ago.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika made the shock announcement on Sunday that his star fullback won't take part in the Spring Tour or take up the option in his contract to head to Japan, electing to take some time away from the game instead.

It was a decision that Cheika said had been made a couple of months ago and Folau told reporters today it had been on his mind for some time.

"It's something that has been in the back of my mind for a while," Folau said.

"I can't remember the last time I have really had a break since I started playing.

"I just looked at the opportunity of taking a bit of time out physically to freshen up and also giving myself a bit of a mental break as well, which is something that is going to be different.Israel Folau will play his final match of 2017 on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images"I love playing footy but it's going to be a different aspect, which is something I will definitely enjoy.

"I will get right away from things and take my time off."

While he's looking forward to the break, Folau is expecting to have itchy feet when he watches the Wallabies from afar for the first time since making his Test debut, in 2013.

"You always have itchy feet when you are watching the games but when it comes to a break - you will get that opportunity the next time, next season.

"It makes you a bit more hungry to get back in the jersey and play footy again.

"I'll definitely be watching the boys go around on the Spring Tour but I will be enjoying my break as well."Folau has been in career best form this season. Photo: Getty ImagesThe star fullback's absence will provide opportunity for several fringe starting XV players to lay their claim throughout the Spring Tour and Folau believes that can only help the team moving forward.

"From my personal point of view I think the momentum will continue to build," he said.

"I'm sure whoever gets the opportunity to play at fullback will do a great job.

"But I feel for my own personal point of view as a player, this is probably the best thing for me, at this time."


Folau didn't give much away when asked what he plans to do with his spare time but breaking the world record for the most Test tries scored in a calendar year was far from front of mind.

"When I step out to play the game I'm not thinking about breaking any records," he said.

"It's always nice to but for me, most importantly, I am taking the time off to freshen up and get away - that's a lot more important to me than anything else."

The Barbarians will take on the Classic Wallabies on Tuesday October 24, kicking off at 5:30pm AEDT, raising money for the Lismore Flood Appeal. The game will be streamed LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.

The Wallabies vs Barbarians kicks off at 3pm AEDT on Saturday October 28, at Allianz Stadium, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and Win.

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