Folau turned to family, faith before locking in fresh deal

International
by Sam Phillips

Superstar Wallabies fullback Israel Folau admits he gave some thought to a potential move north and a return to rugby league before settling on a decision to stay in rugby for four more years.

News of Folau securing his future emerged on Wednesday morning and while there was little surprise surrounding his decision to stay with both the Waratahs and Wallabies, there was a time earlier this year when the rumour mill clicked into overdrive, with suggestions of a potential move to the Reds.

Those rumours came and went within a month and speaking at ASICS' flagship store in Tokyo on Wednesday Folau indicated the interest was fleeting.

"At the time I guess I had a look at a few options but once I was comfortable with what I wanted to do I obviously let my management know and let them deal with it straight away," Folau said.

"t's about letting them do their job and then focusing on my rugby.

"That was the priority."

The priority for Folau's management was locking in a long-term deal.Folau flirted with a move to Queensland. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIt's understood the main sticking point between Rugby Australia, the Waratahs and Folau through contract negotiations was the length of the deal.

The 29-year-old pushed for the four-year term and explained what attraction he had to such a lengthy deal.

"That's the luxury of a long-term deal, that you can really just focus in on the years you have signed on for," he said.

"A whole lot of things come into the equation with family and all that sort of stuff.

"It wasn't always about the footy side of things for me.

"It had to fit in with my wife and everything else with my family and parents."

The length of the fresh deal - which is yet to be officially unveiled by Rugby Australia and the Waratahs - also means Folau will likely retire a rugby player.

While he hasn't spent a great deal of time processing that fact he insisted resting on his laurels is out of the equation.

"I'm 29 now, I can't tell the future, but I'm never really feeling comfortable in the position I'm in," he said.

"Whatever happens to me it keeps me on my toes, just trying to improve as a footy player but also as a person as well.

Four more years for Folau. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"In saying that I know what's most important to me as a person, those things never shift at all, regardless of what's happening around me at the time.

"That's one key thing I'll never let go, being comfortable with where I'm at regardless of footy or how life's going for me.

"There's always things I can correct and get better at.

"Whether it's long term or short term, it's a cliche but I take things day by day."

One of the elements of life which Folau holds dear is his religion.

It was his faith which steered him towards a long term commitment to Australian rugby after initially entertaining a move back to rugby league.

"I base everything around my faith and belief in God, I tend to go wherever he wants me to go," he said.

"Whether that was rugby or not I was always going to feel comfortable and feel that way. 

"I believe everything happens for a reason - I would never have thought my journey would go from rugby league to AFL to rugby. 

"At some stage I didn't think I was going to be in the game but those thoughts always chop and change and in the end you have that peace and comfort inside that brought me to a stage where I feel comfortable in wanting to move forward."

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