Israel Folau bound for South Africa
March 28, 2014
Israel Folau is hoping to return for the Waratahs' second tour match © Getty Images
Super Rugby ace Israel Folau admits he's still only a 50-50 prospect of returning for the NSW Waratahs next weekend despite flying out for South Africa on Saturday.
After dieting largely on ice the past week, Folau is recovering well from a nasty knock to the throat and was given the all-clear to travel to the Republic and resume training with teammates.
But with some cracked cartilage and a swollen throat, the tryscoring freak was forced to miss Sunday morning's (AEDT) showdown with the table-topping Sharks in Durban and said he also wouldn't risk rushing back against the Stormers next Sunday in Cape Town. He will only play if he returns to 100 per cent and he estimated on Saturday to be about 80 per cent right.
"I'm still a 50-50 chance. I'll make a call as the week goes on, depending how the throat feels," Folau said before boarding at Sydney Airport. "I won't go into any game worried about the throat. I want to go into the game thinking I am confident.
"So if I'm 50-50, I won't put the boots on. I will just let it heal. It's more the risk that it could get another knock there again, and potentially get the same injury or even worse."
The superstar fullback could barely speak after copping a stray elbow in last Friday night's win over the Melbourne Rebels. Doctors instructed him not to make the long-haul fly to South Africa the following day with teammates because his condition would affect his breathing and sleeping. He hasn't trained or taken any medication to enhance recovery, relying on natural healing instead.
"I have just been eating a lot of ice cubes to try and get the swelling down. It's helped a lot," Folau said. "The voice is coming good so it's a good sign. My airways are pretty clear so it feels pretty good."
Folau has scored eight tries in four games this campaign at an amazing strike rate, but modestly played down talk the Waratahs were a one-man band and would struggle without him.
"It's a team performance and I've been lucky enough to just be in the right place at the right time," he said. "To get those tries, I think I've been lucky."
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton