Folau faces second year syndrome

Thu, 16 Jan 2014 16:42
Large israel folau waratahs Large israelfolauwallabytraining2 Large folau break630

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika warns Israel Folau faces a challenging second year in Rugby Union despite his dream debut season last year.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika warns Israel Folau faces a challenging second year in Rugby Union despite his dream debut season last year.

Folau exploded onto the scene after making the switch from Rugby League last year, being named the Australian Super Rugby Rookie of the Year and equalling Lote Tuqiri's Australian record of 10 Test tries in a calendar year.

In the process, Folau developed a better understanding of the finer details of the game but Cheika feels he will have to make another step up this season with the opposition now aware of the damage the 24-year-old can do.

"I think there will be a big challenge for him this year, just adjusting from having such a massive season, a small break, backing up again,” Cheika told AAP.

"That's a first for him, so we're mindful in the way that we are preparing him this season, both for mental freshness and also physical.

"But his enthusiasm is ridiculous. He wanted to come back early and stat training and I had to tell him not to come.

"I think just based on that alone, and his quality, the formula is looking good going forward."

Cheika isn’t ruling out moving Folau into the midfield in the forthcoming warm-up games but doesn’t want to make unnecessary changes.

"At this stage he's travelling so well at 15, we're not going to play around too much," said Cheika.

Folau will face stiff competition for the fullback berth in the form of Kurtley Beale, who’s back in Sydney after a failed stint at the Melbourne Rebels.

Asked who he favoured at this stage, the Waratahs coach quipped, "seven and a half each, that will make 15," adding, "I'll just see how it pans out. I don't have to worry about selecting the first competition game team until late in February."

Cheika said he’s pleased to have welcomed back all his Wallabies in good health but said Springbok loose forward Jacques Potgieter is yet to join the squad from Japan.

"He keeps texting me every week, he wants to know how it’s going," Cheika said.

"He's very eager to get here. I think he's only got one match left in Japan and then he'll be here, so I'm not worried about that."  

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4