Folau midfield experiment set to extend

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Israel Folau will stay in the Waratahs centres for the time being but it’s unclear where the star fullback will play come Test time.

Folau found himself in the thick of the action against the Brumbies, scoring a try for his efforts, in his first full match in the centres.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham, who steered the Wallabies attack at last year’s World Cup, had plenty of praise for Folau’s attacking presence in his new role.

“As Wallaby attack coach, I, like any fan of Australian Rugby just seeing him out there is the number one thing.

“He’s a quality player and you want him on the field to make a difference. Tonight at 13 he had a really good game.

“He got a lot of touches out there tonight and  that would’ve been the reason why he was shifted in there.

“There have been games this year where he hasn’t touched the ball much at all.

“He got a number of touches and that’s what you want - a quality player like Israel, you want him to get quality touches on the ball.”Israel Folau had plenty of involvements against the Brumbies. Photo: Getty Images

Folau was found out in defence by incumbent Wallabies 13 Tevita Kuridrani, who palmed off his counterpart in one of their only one-on-one battles.

Larkham said the defensive side of having Folau in the centres was more complicated than the attack, which was clearly a raging success.

“Defensively there’s obviously some issues there they might need to address going forward,” he said.

“Not necessarily just with Izzy but with the structure of their defence - when you go with that combination on the field, I think that makes it a little bit difficult out there.”

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has no qualms about sticking with Folau at outside centre.

“It’s certainly one I’m going to continue with. (He’s) very dangerous, closer to the ball.

"(He) was a threat,  did well to come back from an early knock and scored a nice try there.”

Gibson said the next step was to continue upping Folau’s involvement.

“Of course ’d like to see him get more ball. You want those players getting the ball."

“That’s our work on that’s what we’ve got to improve.”