15, 14, 13: Numbers make no difference for Folau

International
by Sam Phillips

Different number, same position.

That's the way Israel Folau is looking at a move to outside centre this Saturday as the Wallabies search for a way to steer clear of a Bledisloe Cup clean sweep.

Since moving to the wing for Australia's loss to Argentina on the Gold Coast Folau has largely attacked at No. 13.

Reece Hodge has played an interchangeable role with Folau which seeks to put the football in his hands more often than not and that means little will change on the attacking side of the ball for the 29-year-old.


"It probably won't change too much other than the number on the back of my jersey," Folau said.

"I will still be trying to roam around and look to attack off the back with Kurtley."

What will change for Folau is the role he plays in defence.

As the Wallabies' best under the high ball he has spent little time undertaking front line defensive duties during his 69 Tests.

Defending in the No. 13 channel is another step up entirely but the superstar back is not daunted by the task.

He is embracing it instead.

"Even though I haven't spent a lot of time there, the general feeling is a lot of people probably will say that you're not ready or you're not feeling comfortable there but I Iike to go the other way 
and embrace that challenge and take that head on," Folau said.


"I'm confident in having to defend there up front. It's all about the connections with guys inside and outside of you," he said.

"So if we're on the same page there, I'm very comfortable in reading and staying connected with the guys inside and outside of me."

Folau also plans to draw on his time defending in the NRL when the All Blacks - namely Beauden Barrett and Sonny Bill Williams - come knocking on Saturday.

"Spending that much time in rugby league and playing centre, those experiences certainly help you out in times like this," he said.

"A guy like Sonny Bill and his size and skill set will automatically attract numbers straight away.

"You have him and then Barrett at 10.

"It's all about that connection within the midfield for us.

"We need to make sure we are on the same page no matter the decision we make on the field.

"We need to do it all together and that's something we have to be ready for."

The Wallabies face the All Blacks at Nissan Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 5pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and RUGBY.com.au radio.

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