Cheika picking class over form

Date published: October 27 2015

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Michael Cheika has full confidence in Australian full-back Israel Folau to deliver on the grandest stage that is the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham on Saturday.

The full-back has been plagued by an ankle injury for the last three weeks and while he started in the semi-final win over Argentina on Sunday, he hobbled off with 15 minutes to go.

There has been plenty debate around the Waratahs superstar, who has failed to impress at the World Cup. However, Kurtley Beale, his replacement, has provided plenty go-forward and shown tactical acumen with the boot off the bench.

Beal's form would suggest he deserves a start ahead of the struggling full-back, but coach Cheika appears to be picking class over form.

"I never doubt that bloke – never," said Cheika of Folau.

"Has he been in top form? I think before he got his injury, he was in good form, he was carrying the ball really well.

"The injury bothered him a bit, he missed a game and then played [Argentina] with that injury but on the improve.

"He felt good enough to be able to do his job and I think he's only going to get better after that."

There are also injury clouds over stalwart Matt Giteau and prop Scott Sio. However, Wallaby skipper Stephen Moore revealed that everyone is working hard on their recovery.

"Everyone's up and about," said Moore.

"I think we realise it's a short week and we've got to get going and the boys are all ripping into their recovery.

"It's going to be important to recover well so we can still train hard through the week."

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