Folau won't change aerial approach after suspension

Mon, Jul 2, 2018, 3:11 AM
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman
Wallabies gun Israel Folau went back to where it all began today, helping run a clinic at his former high school. The fullback adamant a week on the sidelines for dangerous play won't affect the way he challenges for the ball in the future.

Wallabies and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau says he won't be changing his approach to the aerial contest, after a one-week suspension.

Folau was suspended for contacting Ireland skipper Peter O'Mahony in the air in the third June Test, with a World Rugby judiciary saying a 'claw-like motion' from Folau on O'Mahony's chest contributed to the Irishman falling awkwardly.

In both that contest and one for which Folau was yellow-carded, O'Mahony was being lifted by teammate CJ Stander, who let go of the captain in the air.

Folau said the suspension wouldn't affect his desire to go for those contests in the future, but hoped that there could be more clarity shed by offiicals going forward.

"For me, personally, it won't change the way I approach the ball in the air," he said. 

"I think for myself, I feel it's a strength of mine so there's nothing to change around the technique and all that.

"I'll still keep attacking the ball  the way I do, and from my end going I think going forward.

"I'd like to see a little bit more clarity within that particular area of the game, not only for myself, but others players are involved in those aerial contests I think it's vital and very important."

The spotlight has been on the lifting aspect of the contest in the aftermath of Folau's suspension, with Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson suggesting more onus should be on the lifter in those situations to ensure their teammate is safe.

"Although I agree with what Daryl is saying, there has to be a responsibility for the player that's lifting him to bring him down safely and everyone understands when you go into a contest jn the air, you are going to make contact with the opposing player," he said.

"It's not going to be always clean in the sense that there won't be any contact, but I understand the dangers of being in the air, the last thing you want for yourself or for the opposing player is for anyone to get any serious injury.

"It's a thing for World Rugby in terms of the clarification in that particular area of the game where they've got to clear it up and hopefully they can do that sooner rather than later."

Folau's wife, Maria, wasn't holding back her thoughts on the suspension, tweeting out a contest from the first June Test where Folau was felled by Ireland but fell on his side rather than on his head.

It was a post that Folau said probably echoed he views of fans, frustrated with apparent inconsistency in the officiating of contact in the air.

"Yeah, I think across the board, I think people feel that way," he said.

"It's obviously out of our hands as a player to clear those things up.

"Hopefully going forward there can be a lot more clarification around that part of the game."

The Waratahs take on the Sunwolves on Saturday July 7, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.