Israel Folau: I can help my good friend Kurtley
August 30, 2013
Israel Folau "will do everything I can to try and help" Kurtley Beale © Getty Images
Israel Folau hopes to help Kurtley Beale get his career back on track and reach his full potential even though they may ultimately compete for the same jumper at Super Rugby and Test level for New South Wales Waratahs and Australia.
Folau has enjoyed a dream debut season in rugby, while Beale has lurched from one drama to another in 2013 - including being stood down for punching a Melbourne Rebels team-mate as well as a stint in a rehabilitation clinic to deal with alcohol issues. But the pair have become good mates, and Folau hopes he can have a good influence on Beale now they are team-mates for the Waratahs and the Wallabies.
"Kurtley's had a tough time [lately]," Folau said on Thursday after re-signing with the Australian Rugby Union for two years through to Rugby World Cup 2015. "I'm really good mates with him. I'm there for his support if he needs anything, and it will great to be playing with him next year. I will do everything I can to try and help him, whether that's on the field or off the field. Whatever he needs, I'm a good mate to give him a hand."
Folau is considered likely to be groomed as the Wallabies fullback now he has committed to rugby union, as a means of getting him more involved in the play, but Beale is also seen as a candidate for the position under new coach Ewen McKenzie.
"He [Beale] can have it [No.15 jumper] if he wants it," Folau said with a smile. "If I was to get an opportunity, I'd take it with both hands for sure. But it's something that has to be decided by the coaching staff. I'm really happy just being on the team first of all and doing my role, playing on the wing. This year I enjoyed playing fullback [for the Waratahs] but it's very exciting to have Kurtley on board too."
ESPN correspondent Greg Growden discusses the decision of Israel Folau to remain a rugby plyer