Planet Rugby

Folau ruled out for Waratahs

24th March 2014 10:21

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Ruled out: Israel Folau

The prolific strike weapon Israel Folau has been ruled out of the Waratahs' Super Rugby clash with the Sharks in Durban on Sunday.

The dual code international, who burst onto the scene in 2013, first with the NSW franchise, then the Wallabies, has scored an astonishing eight tries in four games so far.

But the full-back picked up an injury to his throat, later confirmed as a haematoma, during his side's 32-8 victory over the Rebels this weekend.

After missing training on Monday, Folau was set to join his team-mates in Durban on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it now appears boss Michael Cheika and the 'Tahs coaching staff are hesitant to place their golden goose on a long-haul flight to South Africa.

Cheika had said on Monday that keeping Folau fit and fresh was a priority, the coach typically substituting the star sometime in the final quarter of any given match.

"If you think about it, he's come off the back of two AFL seasons, so he hasn't had that contact element, then he's had a full year of [Super and Test rugby] last year," Cheika told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"He's only had one small injury [a hamstring injury during the British and Irish Lions tour], so he missed one game, and I'm mindful that there's a cumulative effect.

"Wherever I can manage him in training and in games I will. Sometimes for a player that 10 minutes at the end of a game when the game is pretty comfortable gives them the chance to wind down a bit earlier. It's a little thing but little things can add up."

Cheika is also adamant his side must get used to life without Folau, with the likes of Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper very capable replacements.

It is likely the former will take Folau's spot in the number 15 jersey, with Rob Horne promoted to a starting berth in midfield.

"We need to prepare for games where [Folau] is not playing, because it's going to happen going forward," added Cheika on Monday.

"He's going to get injured, so we want to also be able to play without him."

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