Folau eager to face All Blacks

Date published: July 9 2013

Wallabies utility back Israel Folau believes he'll be fit to face the All Blacks in next month's Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.

Injured Wallabies utility back Israel Folau is confident he'll be fit to face the All Blacks in next month's Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.

Folau suffered a grade-one hamstring tear which forced him off the field in the first half of Australia's defeat to the British and Irish Lions in Sydney last weekend.

But although the code hopper will miss the Waratahs' final round encounter against the Reds at ANZ Stadium, he is confident that he will be back to face the All Blacks for the first time.

“It's a grade one so probably about two to three weeks off,” Folau told Sportal.

“I thought it would be a bit worse but the scans showed that it's only a grade one and it'll give me a bit of time to recover so it's not too bad.

“It's always exciting when you come up against good quality opposition like the All Blacks.

“I haven't had the chance to do that before and it's going to be very exciting.”

The 24-year-old made a memorable debut for the Wallabies against the Lions in Brisbane, scoring a brace of tries in a 23-21 defeat.

But despite his fine performances, Folau admits that the loss to the Lions in the series decider was one of his biggest disappointments as a sportsman.

“The injury wasn't too bad but sitting there on the side and watching the boys play, I felt like I let them down because I couldn't be out there on the field and putting in a performance for the team, so it really hurt me Saturday night,” he added.

“I'm obviously still pretty shattered that we lost and obviously for me personally only playing about 20 minutes in the last Test really hurt me, so it'll probably take a while to really sink in.

“It's been a great five weeks overall as an experience and I had a really good time.

“For me now I've just got to move forward and onto what's next.”

Folau also paid tribute to departing Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

“I know it's a hard thing for him and I really enjoyed being coached under Robbie the last five weeks,” he said.

“He's a great man and I wish him all the best.”