No need to pigeon hole Folau

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

NSW attack coach Chris Malone says there’s no need to pigeonhole Israel Folau into one spot in 2016.

Wallabies fullback Folau slipped into outside centre against the Brumbies on the weekend after an injury to Rob Horne, though it’s been a move long mooted by Waratahs coaching staff.

Malone said the goal was to put Folau wherever he would be able to get his hands on it the most, though that would be made on a case-by-case basis.

“It will depend game to game,” he said.

‘We didn’t receive a lot of clean possession the other night (against the Brumbies). If a guy’s playing at 13 in that instance, it’s really hard sometime to touch the ball.

“We got more ball the other night off kick returns, so it's good to have a guy back there that’s going to receive the ball.

“There’s no real set analytics on where he gets it or where he doesn’t, the fact of the matter is we’ve got to get it to him.”

The return of Bernard Foley for their round four clash against the Highlanders will open up the myriad forms the Waratahs back line could take.

Malone said Foley would give some security to the backline, having been the driving force of their attack over the past three years.

“There’s an assuredness there (with Bernard),” he said.

“Bernard’s the incumbent Wallaby number 10, he’s played with a lot of these guys and he’s guided this team in particular around for the last three years without missing a game.

“It’s a familiar face and he understands the different pressures of Super Rugby and he’s got the potential to unlock the back line and the players in it.”

Two-game David Horwitz looms as the likely player to be the unlucky one of the bunch as Foley returns, potentially making way for Kurtley Beale in the inside centre spot.

Malone said the 21-year-old had done enough to show his long-term potential at Super Rugby level.

“He’s got a really bright future, there’s going to be competition for places whether Dave’s in or out that’s just part of footy and what he has done is put a huge step forward in terms of us knowing his capability at this level.

Ultimately, Malone said the problem of choice was a luxury they would be glad to have.

“The beauty of having Bernard back is we’ve got options," he said.

“How we decide to go is as yet unknown but the beauty for us is that we've got choice.

Foley was doing mainly running drills at Waratahs training on Wednesday but stayed out of full contact work, along with Rob Horne (knee).

Both are expected to return for the Highlanders match at Allianz Stadium on Friday week