Folau remains upbeat for Rebels clash
February 28, 2013
Queenslannd Reds used their rush-defence to crowd Israel Folau in the opening round. © Getty Images
Waratahs code-hopper Israel Folau says he has learned from his mistakes and remains 'positive' about his new code despite his shaky Super Rugby debut against Queensland Reds.
Folau dropped several balls on attack and missed crucial tackles against Queensland but has retained the number 15 jumper for Friday's round three clash against the Rebels in Sydney. While disappointed with his own performance last weekend, the 23-year-old is confident he can turn things around quickly as he adapts to his third professional code in four years.
"Me personally I was obviously pretty disappointed with my performance but now that's done and dusted and I've had a look at the game and I'm looking forward to this week," Folau said. "My execution on the weekend wasn't up to scratch so I had to work on that a bit and that's pretty much what let me down on the weekend."
"In terms of structures and the game plan I'm pretty comfortable with how we want to play as a team and I've just got to fix those errors," Folau added. "The transition so far has been great, I'm really positive about everything so far and I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season."
The Reds used their rush-defence to crowd Folau and nullify the former NRL superstar. Folau plans to vary his attack more against the Rebels and let his natural football instincts take over.
"That was a great lesson for me last week with the Reds putting a lot of pressure on me and I learnt a lot from that game," Folau said. "I've just got to mix up my game with my passing game instead of trying to take things on my own."
"It's (rugby) starting to become natural now and I like to go into the games free-minded and go in there and just play the game as it flows," Folau added. "So I don't want to think too much about structures and all that sort of stuff."
Of the chance to play against good mate Kurtley Beale and fellow Wallabies superstar James O'Connor, he said: "They're quality players and as a team we all know how good they are and it's going to take a whole team effort to try and limit their opportunities. I'm good mates with KB (Beale) and it'll be good to go up against him this week."
Meanwhile, coach Michael Cheika says he didn't consider switching Folau to the wing or bench and backed his star recruit to bounce back strongly.
"I think he himself would say he was only at half tilt (against the Reds) really compared to what he can do," Cheika said. "He still beat a lot of defenders but not really in the areas we wanted to. We've worked on a couple of things and he's a consummate pro so I imagine you'll see a revised version this weekend."
Cheika has made two changes to his 22-man squad to face the Rebels, with prop Benn Robinson back in the starting side for Jeremy Tilse, while Mitchell Chapman has been named in place of the injured Sitaleki Timani and Greg Peterson has been added to the bench.
Waratahs: Israel Folau, Tom Kingston, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Carter, Drew Mitchell, Bernard Foley, Brendan McKibbin, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis (capt), Kane Douglas, Mitchell Chapman, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Replacements: John Ulugia, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Greg Peterson, Lopeti Timani, Matt Lucas, Ben Volavola.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside