Wales v Australia
Israel Folau has Lote Tuqiri's record in sights
November 27, 2013
Israel Folau has enjoyed a remarkable debut season in rugby union © Getty Images

Israel Folau hopes to cap his phenomenal debut season this weekend by breaking Lote Tuqiri's calendar-year try-scoring record.

Folau boasts nine tries from just 14 Tests, and he needs only one more against Wales at Millennium Stadium on Saturday to equal fellow league convert Tuqiri's mark of 10 set in 2004. Tuqiri scored his 10 tries in just 12 Tests in his second season with the Wallabies, but Folau has showed his ability in a team that has lost more matches than it has won.

Folau, who showed his world-class traits with a man-of-the-match display against Scotland on the weekend, scoring one try and helping set up the other in the grinding 21-15 win at Murrayfield, denied rugby was a simple game and paid credit to team-mates and improving combinations in Australia's backline.

"It's definitely not easy," Folau said. "It's been a tough transition like I've said from the start. To get nine tries isn't what I was expecting in my first year but that doesn't come without ... the players around you that help you get over the try line."

Six Nations champions Wales are braced for the dual international and one-time AFL forward's threats, saying they have to be far more careful with their kicking game to keep the ball out of his hands, while recalled winger Alex Cuthbert believes Folau is the hardest man to contain in the game.

"He's the danger man, the man in form and probably one of the best players in rugby at the moment," Cuthbert said. "He's improving every game. There's no end to his skills in the air, his footwork and putting people away. We have to mark him closely and keep him away from the ball. If it's in the air we have to get him off his game. He's been managing to get the ball in the air and putting Australia on the front foot."

Folau said the Wallabies weren't looking only to inflict a psychological blow on Wales ahead of their pool fixture at Rugby World Cup 2015, saying there was feeling for the coming match given the hosts had selected 10 British & Irish Lions players.

"I think there is still a bit of spice in it, especially this year with the Lions," he said. "As a Wallaby it still stands clear in our minds, and it's going to be a big contest this week."


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