Folau stands behind beliefs, focused on Pumas

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau says his on-field focus has not wavered, despite a month in which he created plenty of waves off the field.

Folau caused a serious stir by tweeting his opposition to same sex marriage on September 13, with a mixed reaction from onlookers, with many supporting his freedom to express an opinion, even if they disagreed.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since sending that tweet, Folau said his beliefs hadn't changed on the issue, but he hadn't been impacted by the storm the post created at the time.

"I’m going to stand firm on what I’ve already said - that’s what I believe," Folau said.

"I guess it doesn’t change anything for me and my mindset is still first hand with what’s going on here with the Wallabies.

"It hasn’t really had an effect on me at all so I stand firm on what I believe in and what I said."

On-field, Folau is on pace to break a world try scoring record but remarkably, he believes his best is yet to come.

The 28-year-old nabbed his 11th Test try of 2017 against the Springboks a week ago and that puts him just six away from the world record mark set by Daisuke Ohata in 2002 and legendary All Black Joe Rokocoko, who scored 17 in 2003.

Scoring 11 tries in eight Tests would be enough to even see the harshest of critics mark Folau's form as scintillating but it's an interesting internal insight to hear he believes he still isn't at his best.Israel Folau is far from content with his try scoring heroics. Photo: Walmsley

"To be honest, I think a lot of people are talking about how good things are going but I probably don’t feel as good as how things look on the outside, which is always a good thing for me," he said.

"I’m trying to push to get a lot better and come off the field satisfied.

"Things are going ok at the moment but I know that there are certain parts of my game that I was coming off the field and never really satisfied."

Asked where he could improve, Folau pointed to a series of missed opportunities through the five Rugby Championship matches to date.

"I’m not content with how I’ve been playing the last couple of weeks," he said.

"Reviewing the game when you come off the field and what you see during the week you miss a few opportunitiesFolau has been in scintillating form in everyone's eyes bar his own. Photo: Walmsley"In the game they only come around once or twice and we’ve got to capitalise on that - it’s those opportunities that I want to nail in the game.

"I'm working towards trying to get those downpat."

In scoring his 11th try of the year Folau passed the best tally scored by an Australian in a calendar year.

It just so happens that Australian was Lote Tuqiri, a close friend and childhood idol of the cross-code star.

"I’m quite close with Lote but I’m sure I’ll speak to him when I get back home," Folau said.

"He’s someone I’ve looked up to growing up.

"It’s a huge honour and a privilege to be able to surpass someone I’ve really looked up to as a child."

The Wallabies take on the Pumas in Mendoza on Sunday morning, kicking off at 9:40am AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and WIN.