Israel Folau says the team still backs Stephen Moore as captain of the Wallabies despite his poor on-field relationship with referees.
Moore, like coach Michael Cheika, has come in for criticism in recent weeks after back-to-back defeats to the All Blacks. While Moore’s lineout throwing has been well below par, he has also struggled to effectively communicate with referees over contentious decisions.
Cheika criticised French official Roman Poite after the second Rugby Championship match against New Zealand in Wellington for refusing to discuss some of his decisions against Australia.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen suggested Moore’s attitude could have played a role in his approaches being snubbed by Poite.
After some critics questioned Moore’s effectiveness at Test level, Folau has moved to defend his captain.
“Steve’s a great leader for us, everyone respects him in the team,” Folau told Fox Sports.
“After the loss in Wellington he was quite upbeat and positive in the changeroom and making sure everyone’s trying to stay positive. He’s certainly well-respected amongst the group, there’s no doubts about that.”
Folau also made an effort to defend Cheika, saying some of the criticism aimed at the coach was “unfair” and should rather directed towards the players.
“Cheik is the type of person who’ll take the full blame but we know as players, a lot of that is coming back on us as well,” he said.
“We’ve got to take a fair bit of responsibility there, to take the initiative and try and turn things around.”