Cheika backs Folau for centre role

Date published: January 23 2015

Australia and Waratahs coach Michael Cheika granting Israel Folau his wish of a switch to centre, but it won’t happen this season.

The current Wallaby full-back explained this week that he is keen to have a go at 13, a position which he feels would suit his skill-set.

That would put him in direct competition with Tevita Kuridrani for a spot in the Australia side, however any switch seems unlikely to take place before this year’s World Cup.

“At first we knew to stick him at full-back, [the opposition] will kick it to him and he’ll go from there. Now teams are kicking away from him,” Cheika told Fairfax Media.

“Full-back’s his position, but we’re evolving and he’s evolving. I’m keen as part of his plan for the longer term, not just this season, for him to really get excellent at full-back, his positional play, and to be 100 per cent organised.

“Then we can start to look at other things, but it’s definitely an option for us at some stage, so we can mix and match our players.

“What it does is gives us opportunities, as opposed to having one guy at a time in that position we can start mixing it up, resting guys here and there. It’s a heavy program so we have to have good options.

“Whether it’s this year or next year remains to be seen, for me it’s more likely to happen next year.”