News Article

Folau set to debut at fullback

  
Printable Version Printable Version    Recommend Recommend    Email to a friend Email to a friend
  
Share   

1/29/2013
By the AAP


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."

Meanwhile, Cheika has called on the ARU to throw their weight behind the Waratahs' bid to hold onto lock Sitaleki Timani.

The Wallabies powerhouse has reportedly agreed to join French club Montpellier at the end of the year, however Cheika said it might not be too late to change Timani's mind.

"I know we've put everything we can into our offer ... we're mindful of the salary cap ... and the way the contract system is at the moment it's going to be up to the ARU to do the best they can," he said.

"No one has shown me a piece of paper where he's signed on the dotted line.

"It's very important for us to maintain locks of Sita's quality in Australia. I'm not saying that to play politics, it's the truth. I'd love to keep him."

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.

Text/HTML

Waratahs and Reds prevail in round two
In the opening match of round two of the Asteron Life Super Rugby Competition the Brumbies pushed the Chiefs all the way in New Plymouth only to fall short in the dying stages of the match as Aaron Cruden kicked the penalty to get the Chiefs home.  Read full article...
Brumbies, Force and Rebels triumph in round one
The 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby competition kicked off with both finalists from 2014, the NSW Waratahs and Crusaders going down at home to the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels respectively.  Read full article...
Asteron Life Super Rugby preview: Western Force
The Western Force enter their tenth  season in the competition off the back of their most successful year ever! The men from Perth won nine matches, including a five match winning streak in the middle of the season in 2014. Read full article...
Asteron Life Super Rugby Preview: NSW Waratahs
The 2014 Asteron Life Super Rugby Champions will have their work cut out for them this season if they want to be the first Australian province to successfully defend their title. Read full article...
Asteron Life Super Rugby Preview: QUEENSLAND REDS
The Queensland Reds are coming off a disappointing 2014 season, winning only eight matches, and finishing 13th overall. However, a busy off-season, and a healthy squad, with some new recruits will mean the 2011 Champions will be a force to be reckoned with in 2015. Read full article...