Folau not fussed by Ireland's defensive tactics

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau said he wasn’t worried about Ireland’s defensive tactics in Melbourne, focusing on changing an ‘unfulfilled’ mentality in Saturday’s series decider.

Attack coach Stephen Larkham questioned the legality of the tactics on Monday, saying the fullback was being checked in his kick-chase attempts, but Folau only had compliments for his opponents’ defence.

“I never look for excuses, they escorted really well,” he said.

“What I do think in terms of our team is that we can execute a lot better in terms of the kicks.

“I think on the weekend, we seemed to kick it a little bit further than what we wanted and probably a little bit more infield than what it usually is.

“So, hopefully the kicks on the weekend will be executed a lot better but on the weekend they did a great job of expecting that and they flood plenty of numbers into their left side, which is something for us as a team, we've got to realise that and understand and notice that.

“If Ireland are doing that, there's space elsewhere on the field, so I think that's something we took out of that game and hopefully we can execute on the run, going into the game.”

The Wallabies had little possession in Melbourne and Folau’s limited chances were shut down by ireland, and the fullback said his focus was on trying to get a sense of fulfilment, that has been lacking in the opening two Tests.

“I think the most exciting thing for as a group is we had that feeling coming off the back of the last two weeks, even the win in Brisbane, we still kind of felt unfulfilled in terms of the way that we played,” he said.

“The reason why I felt unfulfilled (was I was) not getting my hands on the ball as much I would like.

“Hopefully going into this weekend I can find myself doing that a bit more and working with Kurtley and Bernard to find those opportunities but definitely going into the game, (I’m) wanting to look for those opportunities and get my hands on the ball.

Israel was shut down by Ireland in Melbourne. Photo: WalmsleyIf Ireland do turn to the same tactics in Sydney, Folau said the option was there for Australia to change things up to take advantage of Ireland's commitment to one part of the ground.

“That's the growth area in terms of us as a team but also the vision and the game smarts from our playmakers and not being afraid to play that type of way even if it's inside our 22,” he aid.

“I guess if we can play like that and play a lot more consistent in that type of way, I think it'll open up a lot more opportunities across the whole team in terms of anywhere on the field.”

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby defended his side’s approach to the aerial contests in Melbourne, when asked about the criticism on Tuesday.

“We've done nothing that we haven't done all season, I just think on the weekend we just showed a lot more urgency to get back and support the player receiving the ball, making sure that once that player has caught the ball and landed that we resource the ruck,” he said.

“I think that was an area we came off second-best in in Brisbane, so there'll always be things that opposition and ourselves feel that we maybe didn't get the rub of the green but we're just asking the players to work incredibly hard to support those guys who are receiving the kick and that's all we did on the weekend.

“We didn't feel like we did anything that any other team in the world isn't doing.”

The Wallabies take on Ireland in Sydney on Saturday June 23, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RADIO.