Folau pumped for Test reunion

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Israel Folau  doesn’t yet know where he will play for the Wallabies this season but the Waratahs star is already excited to reunite with old mate, Ben Te’o on the Test field.

Folau and Te’o are former housemates and were Brisbane Broncos teammates and the 27-year-old said he was thrilled for his friend, who was one of  four uncapped players named  in England’s squad

“I’m quite happy for him. I texted him last night,” he said.

“We used to live together a couple of years ago so it’s great to see him go out and do well.

“I’m certainly very excited for his journey that he’s on the national stage.

“It’s great (Test season) is only around the corner so there’s a lot of hype and build up around the series.”

Te’o has been playing in Leinster for the past two seasons, signing with Premiership side Worcester for the 2016-17 season, making him eligible for the June series.

Folau said having the familiar face in the white and red would add a bit more spice to the series though that is probably not an element this contest is lacking.

“It makes things more interesting, certainly not in a negative way,” he said.

“I’m so pumped for him to see him in his squad. He deserves it.

“The switch over he’s done so much in the last couple of years.”

Ben Te'o and Israel Folau are old friends. Photo: Getty ImagesIf Folau's recent foray at 13 continues to Test level, he could find himself matched directly to Te’o, a prospect he would relish.

“He’s certainly a great player and we’re probably joking around about it now but it’s something that could happen.

“We’ll see what happens there but I’m excited for him.

“I think that conversation (about where I play) when we get into camp about how things are cemented.”

While the opening Test is just two weeks away, the Waratahs have more pressing concerns this weekend, hosting the table-topping side for the second straight week, the Chiefs.

Two slow starts have cost them against New Zealand sides this year, having lost to the Highlanders and the Crusaders and Folau said they would need to get the jump on a clinical Chiefs side on Friday night.

“As you can see the kiwi teams are playing great footy so you can’t afford to have a slow start against anyone let alone the Kiwi teams so we need to make sure that’s an important point we can get across to the team.

“We need to start well on the weekend and try to create a platform that will set us up for the whole 80 minutes.”