Tahs in tug-'o-war for AFL star
Australian Rugby League international Israel Folau has been linked to a move to either the Waratahs or a French club.
Australian Rugby League international Israel Folau has been linked to a move to either the Waratahs or a French club, after rejecting a return to the National Rugby League.
NRL club Parramatta and the NRL said that Folau would not make a much-anticipated return to the code he left for the rival Australian Football League (AFL) at the end of 2010.
Folau, 23, quit AFL's Greater Western Sydney Giants on October 31 saying he wanted to return to Rugby League with the Parramatta Eels.
But after lengthy negotiations Parramatta have been informed that Folau would instead join Rugby Union, with France's Top 14 competition a possible destination, reports said.
Newspapers said Folau, who has played seven Tests for Australia, is believed to be heading overseas to pursue a career with a French Rugby Union team in a deal worth an estimated AU$1 million (US$1 million) a season.
Reports said Folau was not considering a competitive offer from the Eels that was worth AU$3 million over four years.
However, it also emerged that the code-hopper, Folau, could be involved Super Rugby in 2013.
The Waratahs have been named as a realistic prospect.
Folau has always maintained he wanted to continue to live and play in Sydney where he is close to his church and his mates.
This could give Super Rugby battlers NSW - who ended the 2012 season on an eight-game losing streak - the inside running.
His acquisition would give the ailing Waratahs, who have struggled for crowds and media space in an increasingly crowded market, a real boost.
"Are the Waratahs on the cards? Definitely ...", a source close to Folau's camp told AAP.
After struggling to adapt to life in the AFL, Folau's undoubted talents would seemingly translate easily to the 15-a-side game.
Sources: AFP & AAP