Israel Folau follows Lote Tuqiri's simple advice
November 28, 2013
Greg Growden previews the final Test of the Wallabies' season against Wales

Lote Tuqiri's code-crossing advice to Israel Folau to trust his attacking instincts is paying off in spades for rugby's new leading dangerman. It also has Folau on track to equal, or break, his fellow dual international's calendar-year Wallabies try-scoring record in the final Test of 2013 against Wales in Cardiff. Folau boasts nine tries from just 14 Tests in his debut season to be one off Tuqiri's mark of 10, set in his second year of rugby in 2004.

Folau revealed that former Brisbane Broncos and New South Wales Waratahs winger Tuqiri encouraged him to take a simple approach to the more complicated code of rugby union before he followed in his fellow Queenslander's footsteps 12 months ago.

"He said to back yourself and play on instinct, and that's what I've been doing and just enjoying myself - it's been a great year," said the Wallabies fullback, who has built a lethal combination with Quade Cooper. "We have spent a lot of time at training working with different combinations but I think most of it is instinct with what you see in the game."

Folau described as "tough" his transition since starring on his Waratahs debut in a February trial in Tasmania, but he said he had enjoyed most the instant decision-making of whether to run, pass or kick.

Israel Folau has made a devastating impact in his debut season © Getty Images

"It's a difficult tactical game where you have to be thinking constantly, and that's something that I enjoy," Folau said of union compared with rugby league and AFL.

"It's a lot simpler in league, where you get six tackles and you run and generally in the last play you kick. Here in rugby it's certainly different; making split decisions and you have to make the right one. It's a big test but I enjoy the challenge."

Not only excited about the chance to equal Tuqiri's mark, Folau is looking forward to another tussle with George North after going head-to-head in the 2-1 series loss to the British & Irish Lions in the winter.

No player has lowered Folau's colours under the high ball, but he rates North the most difficult player to combat in the air. Even so, Welsh garryowens are likely to be few and far between at Millennium Stadium, with North's fellow winger Alex Cuthbert voicing the risk.

"We have to mark [Folau] closely and keep him away from the ball," Cuthbert said. "There's no end to his skills in the air. He's the danger man, the man in form and probably one of the best players in rugby at the moment."


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