Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Folau signs with Waratahs



Former Australia rugby league international Israel Folau has joined rugby union's New South Wales Waratahs on a one-year contract after walking away from a lucrative agreement with an Australian Rules football club last month.

"Winning Israel over to rugby union is a major boost for the ... Waratahs and an exciting prospect for Super Rugby fans across Australia," Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen said in a statement.

"As a player, Israel clearly has an exceptional talent but what was equally important to us was the enormous level of respect he commands from those who know him and have worked with him."

The 23-year-old Folau left Australian Football League club Greater Western Sydney Giants on November 1, citing a lack of passion for the game after two seasons in which he failed to come to grips with the skills of the indigenous Australian code.

He had been lured to the expansion franchise to help boost the profile of the sport in Sydney's growing western suburbs following a successful career with Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos in Australia's National Rugby League.

Folau had been expected to return to rugby league amid protracted negotiations with the Sydney-based Parramatta Eels, but the talks fell through, fuelling further media speculation he was pursuing a rugby contract overseas.

"I didn't promise anyone anything. There were no promises at all," Folau told reporters at a media conference with Waratahs' coach Michael Cheika in Sydney.

"As I said at the press conference when I left the Giants, I was keeping my options open, and was looking at rugby league and rugby.

"I met with Parramatta on Friday, met them face to face and told them how I was feeling, I have nothing to hide."

Folau said the failure to strike a deal with the Eels was not about the money.

"If I was here for the money I would have stayed with the AFL for the remaining two years of my contract," added Folau, whose multi-million dollar deal with the Giants was one of the most lucrative in the game.

Folau, who played centre, wing and fullback in rugby league, was well known for his finishing skills and could add punch to a Waratahs backline that has stagnated in recent seasons.

"Israel has a brilliant capability to beat a man one-on-one and great aerial skills that are very important these days," Cheika said.

"He's got a natural ability to read the game and assess attacking opportunities.

"There's a bit of learning to do around the ruck area but at 23, he's still very open to learning and we've already started that journey."



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Latest Video Highlights

Sports Talk



Brendan Venter
No effort without error
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…"...

Tony Johnson
Warning: it's cannibal time
We’re heading into cannibal time again... you know, that part of the season where teams like to...

Gavin Rich
Stormers should forget nine tenths law
The late Chick Henderson, back when he was the doyen of South African rugby broadcasters, used to...

Brenden Nel
How to select a World Cup squad
It struck me like a lightning bolt, one of those moments when you realise in an instant that this...

Kyle Brown
Fast and furious in Tokyo
Just when we thought it wouldn’t get any more physical, Hong Kong and Tokyo happened. We arrived...

Super Wrap
SuperWrap: Week 9, 2015
South African Super Rugby fans would have strode the streets with puffed chests this week after a...