Super Rugby

Folau enjoying centre challenge




Wallabies fullback Israel Folau says that he is enjoying his new position at centre for the Waratahs in Super Rugby but adds that he is not thinking about playing there permanently at Test level.

Folau has been named at centre for the last two Waratahs matches but he only got significant playing time in the position last week and scored a try as a result.

“I’m obviously still trying to learn all the detailed stuff about 13 but at the moment I’m enjoying the challenge,” he said from Cape Town.

“I’ve been happy with the way things are going but you’re never content. I’m always wanting to try and keep improving each week. Last week against the Force it was a great team performance. For me personally, it was very satisfying. I’ve been happy with how things are going.”

While Folau had previously indicated a preference to stay at fullback, one of the main aims of the move to was to put him in the thick of the action and it seems that mission is being accomplished.

“I definitely feel like I’ve got a lot more work to do playing at 13. I’m a little bit closer to the action so I get the ball earlier and can weigh up my options,” he said.

“It’s been something I’ve been really happy with and I’ve spoken to Daryl in the past about trying to get and I feel like that’s been happening.”

Folau said he hadn’t spoken to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika about his Test position, though Cheika had foreshadowed Folau’s midfield move when he was Waratahs coach last season.

“It’s only been at club level with the ‘Tahs and for me that’s all I’ve been focusing on,” he said.

“I need to make sure I can play the best sort of rugby I can before even looking at anything with the Wallabies.”

Defence has always seemed the main barrier for Folau as he made the switch, but with the help of his teammates and defensive coach Nathan Grey, he feels he is making strides with that.

With the June Test series against England six weeks away, Folau will have another Test level preview against Stormers and Springboks centres Damian de Allende and Juan De Jongh.

“I think any game for me at 13 is always going to be a test,” he said.

“This week is probably another great challenge for me going up against those two. We’re still learning as we go. I can only be comfortable playing 13 if I get more game time so it’s something I look forward to.”

The Waratahs backline is finally showing some consistency, after an injury-riddled start to the year and Folau said that left them out of excuses for this weekend’s match against the Stormers.

“I think most guys are pretty familiar with each other now,” he said.

“There’s no excuses now, we’ve got to make sure we keep working hard for each other and I think we’ve got a pretty good backline. It’s just making sure we’re supporting each other.

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