Jono Lance looking to be like Izzy
March 27, 2014
Jono Lance says Israel Folau is "a freakish player but other players are putting players into position to score" © Getty Images
Waratahs lose Israel Folau%]
New South Wales Waratahs are embracing the challenge of trying to topple the Super Rugby leaders in Durban without attacking trump Israel Folau, viewing the match against the Sharks as an opportunity to prove they're no one-man band.
Folau has scored eight tries in four games this season, a strike rate no player in Super Rugby history has managed over the opening month of a season, and Waratahs captain Dave Dennis says "it's pretty obvious that Izzy adds a lot to our group in terms of his attacking ability and overall game".
"But we've still got great depth and it creates an opportunity for someone else," Dennis said. "We're not too worried about having someone else stepping up."
That "someone" is former Queensland Reds title winner Jono Lance, who has been asked to make his debut for the Waratahs in Folau's No.15 jumper at Kings Park. Lance, 23, accepts he's no Folau but he is nevertheless confident of contributing to the team in his own way.
"There's definitely a belief we can win," Lance said.
"Izzy's a freakish player but there's a lot of other players who are putting players into position to score. A lot of the tries Izzy has scored are through the good work other players have done, and he's been in the right position. So it's a matter of those players playing this weekend to continue creating opportunities for other guys. We're definitely optimistic."
Kurtley Beale had been tipped to replace Folau, but coach Michael Cheika preferred to retain the former Wallabies fullback at inside centre. Beale's midfield partnership with five-eighth Bernard Foley has created most try-scoring chances for Folau, and Lance says he has been poring over videos of the Waratahs' recent matches for tips on how to also take advantage.
"Izzy's support play is exceptional and I'll definitely be looking at the footage of the previous few weeks and seeing what I can learn from him and definitely try to bring that this weekend," he said.
Dennis believes the showdown with the table-topping Sharks on their own patch is just what the Waratahs need, saying "the boys are pretty excited about the opportunity to play a good team away from home".
"It's not daunting at all. It's obviously challenging and we know we'll be tested, which is probably what we want at this stage of the season. It will really give us an idea of where we are. We're comfortable with the way we're playing and, if we stick to our sort of style I'm confident we're capable of getting a really good result against them."