You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Folau a Tahs Super Rugby goalkicker option

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/03/2017 Darren Walton

The NSW Waratahs are considering deploying Israel Folau as a shock goalkicking weapon in Sunday morning's Super Rugby acid test against South Africa's rampant Lions.

Twice Super Rugby's leading tryscorer since switching codes in 2013, Folau's attacking qualities are without question.

The dual international, though, has slotted just one goal in 60 matches for the Tahs.

But that won't stop Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper turning to Folau, whose super boot could prove decisive at altitude.

NSW assistant coach Nathan Grey on Friday revealed Folau ranked alongside fill-in five-eighth Bryce Hegarty as the Waratahs' top two long-range kicking options and was ready to answer the call.

"If he's got the confidence and thinks he can knock it over and 'Hoops' asks, he might give him that opportunity to execute that long-range kick," Grey said.

"It's always interesting when you get to training over in South Africa, in Johannesburg; all these blokes put their hands up that they can suddenly kick goals from 60 metres that we haven't seen before.

"Israel is a long-range goalkicking option, Bryce is very confident from over 50 metres and Reecey (Robinson) again at training yesterday was knocking them over from 50."

The Waratahs deliberately left Sydney for Johannesburg last Sunday morning, just hours after beating the Western Force in a wet season opener, to adjust to the challenge of playing some 1750 metres above sea level.

"There's nothing quite like going through the process of playing at altitude and getting that real deep burn in your lungs in that first 20 to 25 minutes," Grey said.

"So the guys have trained through that this week and got a bit of a taste for it.

"So the guys who have done it before have told the (new) guys about it. It's a unique experience and something to really enjoy.

"Playing at Ellis Park, which is a real iconic rugby game in world rugby against a team who played in the Super Rugby final last year with an afternoon crowd, it's a great challenge for the guys.

"They've got to be ready to go. You can't wait 15, 20 minutes to get into the contest because these guys are a dangerous side if you let them get their tails up."

Hooper echoed the importance of the Waratahs playing high-tempo rugby from the outset.

"In reviewing the Lions, they're a very fast, physical team and they do that from the kickoff, right from the start of the game," he said.

"So it's about playing our game, being smart, getting their big guys on the ground and being able to use the space that will be there on the weekend."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon