Folau backed to foil Irish kicking

by AAP

In-form fullback Israel Folau has been backed to counter Ireland's strong kicking game in the much-anticipated three-Test rugby series in June.

Folau has been in scintillating form in the Waratahs' last four matches since returning from a hamstring injury which sidelined him for three games.

"Israel has been exceptionally good since he came back from injury, he's played some of the best footy he's played in a long time," Waratahs attack coach Chris Malone said on Monday.

"His contributions have been immense, so timing for the Wallabies is really good."

Folau and the Wallabies wingers are sure to be tested by Ireland's five-eighth Johnny Sexton, one of the world's finest tactical kickers.

"Clearly they will kick to contest a lot, they won't want to give our guys any space," Malone said.Folau has been in scintillating form this season. Photo: Getty Images"The big area that Australia will be working on I would imagine is how they retreat on those kicks.

"They have got to try and free up some time in terms of how they will then build their attacking out of those congested conditions.

"A lot of that will come down to their ability to get off the ground and work hard.

"I know Cheik (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) will be big on the effort of our team to get back behind the ball in those situations and I think particularly with Israel, he's the best in the world in the air, so if they are going to kick to contest, I'd be backing him to win most of those."

Cheika will on Wednesday announce a squad of around 33 for the Tests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.Folau will play a big part in the Wallabies' June campaign. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile it's likely to be stacked with experience for a series against No.2-ranked Ireland - who are ranked two places higher than Australia - Malone noted Cheika usually picked one or two bolters.

Although reluctant to nominate anyone, he praised the consistency of Waratahs backrower Michael Wells when asked about that players' prospects.

"He's played 80 minutes nearly every game, he's really accurate with his defence, he carries the ball well and he's really diligent about his role," Malone said.

The Waratahs face the Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and radio.