British & Irish Lions
Folau hails 'awesome' debut
Sat, 22 Jun 2013 20:29
We need to bring him into the game
Israel Folau rated his first Test against the British and Irish Lions as on another level to Australia's fierce Rugby League State of Origin series after an sensational debut for the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.
The former rugby league international and Aussie Rules footballer scored two astonishing tries but he was on the losing side as the Lions won a pulsating series opener 23-21 over the Wallabies.
Folau, playing on the right wing, scored two extraordinary tries in the first half and was a danger each time he touched the ball in one of the great international rugby debut performances.
Folau said he revelled in playing before a full house at Suncorp Stadium and the stirring atmosphere generated by the roaring Lions and Wallaby fans.
"Tonight [Saturday] was a great atmosphere and something that I've never experienced before. It was awesome, so I look forward to next week's [second] Test," Folau said.
"I've got to say it's on another level [to State of Origin], with the fans the Lions bring over, they're very passionate and there's a lot of noise throughout the game.
"It's great. The main thing for me is that I'm really enjoying [Rugby Union] and hopefully the next few weeks, we'll see how we go."
Folau and his opposing Lions winger George North provided the sumptuous moments of the epic Test, with Folau displaying his extraordinary athletic ability and the big Welshman charging away from four tackles to score the Lions' opening try.
"He's a dangerous player and scored a great try there tonight [Saturday], so we just have to look to next week and try and limit his opportunities," Folau said of North.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans praised Folau's performance and ruminated on how to give him more attacking opportunities in the remaining two Tests of the series.
"I guess when you're as well equipped as he is, he has a lot of confidence in his ability to do the things that he does," Deans said.
"He has a very physical stature, he's not intimidated, he's quick. When you've got that sort of capacity to play, it tends to slow the game down, slows the defence down because they're conscious of all his options and he's very good at taking those options.
"He's a talent and we need to bring him into the game."
Lions defence coach and former rugby dual international Andy Farrell also paid tribute to Folau's performance.
"I told you he was dangerous. He's some talent. He's got brilliant feet and he's very good in the air," Farrell said.
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