Folau vows to continue improving
December 2, 2013
Israel Folau has become a huge attacking threat as he continues to develop as one of the best players in Australia © Getty Images
If it isn't already scary how good Israel Folau is after 10 months playing rugby union, just wait until next year. The code-hopping superstar isn't satisfied and has vowed to take his game to another level in 2014 as he shuns any thought of second-year syndrome.
Folau ended his superb debut season in union with a flourish at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday night as he scored one try and set up another in the Wallabies' 30-26 win over Wales.
The big and freakishly talented fullback equalled fellow league convert Lote Tuqiri's record mark of 10 Test tries in a calendar year, set in 2004, when he bashed past Mike Phillips and went over in the tackle of two other defenders from a Will Genia cut-out pass in the 36th minute.
"It's definitely something that I didn't think would happen in my first year and to get 10 tries this year is exceptional," he said. "It's been a team effort with the guys around me and it's been a joy to play with the guys."
In a dynamic, highly-skilled backline, Folau has also been setting up more tries as well as scoring on the end-of-season tour, adding another by helping put former schoolmate Joe Tomane over early in the second half. The 24-year-old, already one of the most potent players in the 15-man code, said his biggest challenge now was to perform consistently, keep developing and not stagnate as he felt he did after a boom NRL start as a 17-year-old in 2007.
"I think it's very important," Folau said. "I've been in a similar situation like this playing rugby league after my first couple of years. I'm happy with my performances this year but nothing that is really satisfying. I want to take my game (to the next level) and I always want to improve. There's a lot of room for improvement which is a real key thing for next year."
Nominated for the IRB's rookie of the year award, Folau rated his Test debut against the British & Irish Lions - scoring two tries in the 23-21 loss in Brisbane - as his favourite moment of the year.
"Every game I've played this year has been tough but that one was a special one for me. It was my first game for the Wallabies and I was really happy with my performance as well."
Australia ended their tour on a high as they held onto their lead in the last minutes to make it four wins from five matches on tour