Left Menu
Development News Edition

Israel Folau: Explosive entrance and departure for Australian rugby attacking weapon

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 17-05-2019 13:30 IST | Created: 17-05-2019 11:19 IST
Israel Folau: Explosive entrance and departure for Australian rugby attacking weapon
Folau is without peer in the game under the high ball and made yards for his team pretty much every time he got into his loping stride. Image Credit: Wikipedia

For very different reasons, Israel Folau's arrival in Australian rugby union six years ago was as explosive as his departure and, in sporting terms at least, the free-scoring fullback will be sorely missed.

The nation's most potent attacking weapon since he scored with his third touch of the ball on his international debut in the first British and Irish Lions test in 2013, Folau had his contract torn up by Rugby Australia on Friday. With the physique of a loose forward and the pace of a winger, Folau is without peer in the game under the high ball and made yards for his team pretty much every time he got into his loping stride.

"Freak" is the word most commonly used to describe his physical abilities, and last month he reached into the skies above Eden Park to gather in a crosskick and claim his 60th try for the New South Wales Waratahs -- a Super Rugby record. In six completed seasons in the game, Folau won the John Eales Medal as Australia's best player an unprecedented three times and represented the Wallabies 73 times, scoring 37 tries.

A constant over his time in rugby union, though, was the Pentecostal Christian faith he converted to in his twenties, a fundamentalist creed his determination to espouse ultimately cost him his career in the game.

SOFTLY SPOKEN

Always softly spoken and humble in front of the media, Folau was raised by Mormon parents of Tongan origin in south-west Sydney before moving north to Brisbane with them in his mid-teens. Attending the same high school as Australia rugby league captain Cameron Smith, Folau was soon representing his country at age-group level in the 13-man code and catching the eye of scouts for pro teams.

He was just 17 when he made his debut in the National Rugby League and notched 21 tries in his debut season with Melbourne Storm, going on to score 73 in 91 matches over four seasons for Melbourne and the Brisbane Broncos. Folau's representative stats were equally impressive with six tries in eight tests for the Kangaroos and seven in eight games for Queensland in the State of Origin series.

In 2010, he made an unlikely code switch to Australian Rules, signing a three-year A$1.4 million ($1.28 million) deal to spearhead the indigenous code's move into rugby league's heartland with the Greater Western Sydney franchise. For the first time in his young sporting career, though, Folau was not immediately successful and he ditched the final year of his contract to try a third code as a high-profile recruit for the New South Wales Waratahs.

Although initially looking a little uncomfortable in the 15-man game, he almost inevitably scored a try on his Super Rugby debut against the Queensland Reds. He scored eight tries in 14 matches in his debut season for New South Wales and Australia coach Robbie Deans gave him his international debut against the Lions.

Unfazed by the occasion, Folau scored in the 14th minute and produced another spectacular effort to step past Jonny Sexton and power through the tackle of Leigh Halfpenny. Australia lost the series and had a disappointing Rugby Championship but by the end of the year, Folau had scored 10 tries in 15 test matches - equalling the record single-season tally for the Wallabies.

Although he never again reached such scoring heights and, hampered by injury, failed to get on the board as Australia reached the final of the 2015 World Cup, the Wallabies will be a weaker team without him at this year edition in Japan.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Dissecting how COVID-19 is catalyzing the trajectory of New World Order

The ensuing pandemic of COVID-19 has hit the globalization in two ways firstly, shrinking the importance of globalization as an economic force by curtailing mobility through worldwide lockdowns, and secondly, rejuvenating the idea of indig...

Videos

Latest News

PFC ties up with TajSATS to provide food to COVID-19 warriors

Power Finance Corporation PFC on Wednesday said it has joined hands with TajSATS to provide food to frontline COVID-19 warriors including doctors and other healthcare professionalsIn yet another step to battle COVID-19 pandemic, PFC has tie...

India's GDP growth may rebound to 5 pc in FY22, says Subbarao

The countrys economy, which is likely to contract by 5 per cent in the current fiscal, may expand by around 5 per cent in the next financial year, former RBI governor Duvvuri Subbarao said. Rating agency Crisil on Tuesday had said the Ind...

Swiss to allow events of up to 300 people from June 6

The Swiss government said public and private events of up to 300 people and spontaneous gatherings of up to 30 people would be allowed again from June 6, further easing restrictions as the COVID-19 pandemic shows signs of ebbing.The governm...

Fadnavis' claims on Central aid to Maha hollow: Minister

Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab on Wednesday rebutted senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis claim that the Centre had extended financial help to the state government to tide over the COVID-19 crisis. The minister said the state gove...

Give Feedback