Folau Australia's Sonny Bill

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Former Wallaby Rod Kafer has called on Michael Cheika to let Israel Folau be Australia's answer to Sonny Bill Williams, by throwing the star into inside centre.

Speaking on FOX SPORTS’ Rugby 360, Kafer said Folau could make an impact for the Wallabies at 12, similarly to his fellow league convert.

“I’ve got the bloke (for 12), his name’s Israel Folau and he should start at inside centre for the Wallabies in the first Test match,” Kafer said.

“I think we’ve missed the model, I’ve said it here a hundred times, of the big ball carrying 12. We’ve got one of the best in the business. We’ve got Israel Folau, who could do the ‘Sonny Bill Williams’.”

Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau catch up following their Super Rugby match in 2015. Photo: Getty Images

Folau has made the transition from fullback to outside centre for the Waratahs in the 2016 Super Rugby season and it's a move that Cheika has discussed when he was NSW coach, though he has kept quiet on a potential switch this season.

Former Wallabies centre Tim Horan opted for a much conservative option when naming his  Wallabies team for the opening Test, choosing Folau at fullback and reliable playmaker Christian Lealiifano at inside centre.

“Christian Lealiifano has shown what he’s like at the Brumbies,” he said.

“His pass in the other hand is brilliant and allows Bernard Foley to attack the line a little bit more because if he gets caught at the breakdown you have Lealiifano to run the play.

Tim Horan prefers Christian Lealiifano to start at inside centre for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

In the past Cheika has selected two playmakers at 10 and 12 with Matt Giteau used in 2015 and playing Kurtley Beale at inside centre during his time at the Waratahs, but the thought of having a centre pairing that consisted of Folau, Tevita Kuridrani or Samu Kerevi could be just the recipe needed to strike fear into English minds.

Phil Kearns choose his starting Wallabies forwards:

Scott Sio, Stephen Moore, Greg Holmes, Sam Carter, Adam Coleman, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, David Pocock

Tim Horan chooses his starting Wallabies backs:

Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Taqele Nayiyaravoro, Christian Lealiifano, Tevita Kuridrani, Rob Horne, Israel Folau

Rugby 360 airs Wednesday nights 7:30pm AEST LIVE on FOXSPORTS 2 502.