Bledisloe Cup: New Zealand v Australia, Wellington
Israel Folau given licence to roam
August 24, 2013
The Wallabies are keen to get the ball to their explosive winger more often © Getty Images
Israel Folau has been given express instructions to get off his wing, go roaming and make an impact as the Wallabies hunger for a drought-breaking success in New Zealand on Saturday night.
A wasted luxury in Bledisloe I when he barely touched the ball, Folau has a licence to venture infield in an attempt to wreak havoc with All Blacks defenders at Westpac Stadium.
The Wallabies' most experienced backs, Will Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper, both revealed the coaching staff had detailed how both the dual international and fellow winger James O'Connor were to pop up in different locations and situations.
"Israel has been given that licence to roam the field and look for the ball and get involved," Genia said. "He is a guy we want to be touching the ball as much as possible."
It can be far easier said than done, especially as the rugby novice is still coming to terms with wing play after one electrifying Super Rugby season at fullback for the New South Wales Waratahs.
Folau stayed on his sideline in the 47-29 loss in Sydney when the All Blacks expertly directed play away from his wing and also cut off the supply line. Contrasting the fortunes between the two sides, All Blacks winger Ben Smith - a star fullback for the Highlanders - scored three tries last weekend without leaving his sideline.
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Ashley-Cooper admitted the onus was on him as outside-centre to recognise where the best attacking opportunities lay for Folau and O'Connor, who did come off his wing to score the Wallabies' consolation second try in Sydney.
"It would be rude not to use these guys," he said. "That requires smart decisions and a lot of communication from the guys inside you," Ashley-Cooper said.
The Wallabies, who must win to keep the three-Test Bledisloe Cup series alive, last beat the All Blacks across the Tasman 12 long years ago in Dunedin. Genia, whose Queensland Reds team boast a fine Kiwi record, dismissed the venue as a mental factor for Australia.
"It sounds silly but it's just a rugby ground," he said. "It's the same field, same posts, same lines. We play here all the time in Super Rugby."
Follow live text commentary of the Bledisloe Cup Test between New Zealand and Australia on Saturday, August 24, from 5pm (AEST), 7pm (NZT), 7am (GMT)