Planet Rugby

Folau set for move

18th August 2013 14:40


Israel Folau wiping head

Quiet: Israel Folau

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie is considering switching Israel Folau's position after the winger was kept quiet in the 47-29 loss on Saturday.

Folau, who scored twice in his Test debut against the British and Irish Lions recently, may be played at full-back in a bid to maximise his potential.

The Wallabies must win Saturday's second Test in Wellington to avoid losing the trans-Tasman series for an eleventh straight year and getting Folau more involved is one of their priorities.

"They (New Zealand) said they were going to target him. Well, one way of targeting him is to keep him out of the game," explained McKenzie.

"So it's up to us to find ways to keep him in the game."

Folau, who played full-back for the Waratahs in his first Super Rugby season since switching from Aussie Rules and rugby league, was crowned Australia's Super Rugby rookie of the year.

Another Test rookie, Jesse Mogg, had a forgettable starting debut at 15 on Saturday.

McKenzie must now strike the right balance if he reshuffles his backline for the do-or-die clash in New Zealand, where the Wallabies haven't won since 2001.

The new coach's other option is shifting Adam Ashley-Cooper from outside centre to fullback and promoting another Test novice Tevita Kuridrani to the midfield.

McKenzie could also start James O'Connor, twice caught out defensively on the wing in the six-try first-Test drubbing and who also boasts a superior kicking game to Folau, at 15.

"He's (Folau) played most of his rugby league career on the wing," McKenzie said.

"The full-back bit has been obviously something the 'Tahs experimented with.

"We certainly don't rule out that he can play in that position and within a game he can play in that position.

"So we'll be open-minded about that. He's a good player and we practised to have him involved in the game. It just didn't eventuate."

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