The British & Irish Lions Folau – the Wallabies’ Billy Whizz?

Israel Folau

Catch him, if you can: Israel Folau


It’s a wonder Izzy isn’t dizzy, considering all the shuffling around he’s done from sport to sport and the highs he has hit in rival rugby codes on either side of his failed adventure in Australia’s unique football game.

Israel Folau’s path to a once-in-a-dozen years series against the British and Irish Lions has been … perhaps best described simply as different.

Better known as Izzy, Folau played rugby league for Australia and was a star for Queensland in the State-of-Origin series against New South Wales, one of the fiercest and most rugged annual rivalries in any sport.

His ascent in rugby league was so rapid that it seemed to him to be almost too easy, so he sought another challenge. With his size and ability to leap high for catches in crowded areas, he figured a stint as a marquee signing for a new Western Sydney club in the nationwide Aussie rules competition couldn’t do him any harm.

That left-field move backfired. He never properly picked up the nuances of the predominantly kicking-oriented game, and so he searched elsewhere for another challenge and found the Super Rugby clubs only too happy to welcome him to a third professional sport.

He has been an almost instant hit with the Waratahs, where his powerful running game, his strength and his rugby league-style tackling have converted even the most rusted-on rugby union aficionados who doubted he’d adapt to the 15-a-side game.

At 24, and without any guarantee that he’ll play rugby union beyond 2013, Folau was picked by coach Robbie Deans in his initial 25-man Wallabies squad for the Lions series with potential to cover full-back, wing or center.

“I haven’t seen much of the previous series … and, personally, I don’t know too many of their players,” Folau said at the time, reflecting on his knowledge of the Lions.

“I guess I’m still new to knowing all the faces of the game but that might be a thing that could work in my favor.”

He didn’t even need to watch the tape to know the impact of Jason Robinson, who celebrated his run-on Test debut with a try in the first three minutes for the British and Irish Lions to start the 2001 series. Robinson’s speed and step earned him representative honors for Britain in rugby league, and also made him a star in the more global rugby union.

“You’ve probably seen when Jason Robinson made the transition from league, he did a great job,” Folau noted in a TV interview when asked about his rapid elevation to the national squad.

After a distinguished rugby league career, Robinson earned 51 caps for England in rugby union before retiring after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Folau’s potential to play full-back, center or wing could make him even more dangerous to an opposition. But he’s not getting ahead of himself.

“I’m very confident in my own ability but I’m not guaranteed to get a starting spot,” he said.

“I’m just happy to be named in the 25-man squad.”

Folau made his National Rugby League debut at 17 and his international rugby league debut at 18, so he’s hardly likely to be overawed by the occasion after making the transition to union.

After 300 rugby league games for Wigan, Robinson said he played his first game of rugby union in November 2000, played three Tests as a substitute for England in February and then earned his first run-on test cap for the Lions in Brisbane in June 2001. It took seconds for him to make his impact on the wing, sprinting down the left touchline, then wrong-footing experienced Australian full-back Chris Latham to open the scoring in the series.

“You know something? At the time, I didn’t know who Chris Latham was,” Robinson told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph earlier in the week.

“Later I found out he was one of the best full-backs to ever play the game, and is a very intelligent player.

“My strength, being a bit of a midget, was my feet and I managed to just get on the outside of him. It was just on the day, everything went well for us. But after that, it didn’t.”

Robinson also scored an important try in the third test, but the Australians countered to produce a series-clinching win in Sydney.

He thinks Folau can make an impact on the series, if given the chance. There were criticis of Folau’s inclusion in selection calculations, including Brumbies Super Rugby coach Jake White – South Africa’s Word Cup winning coach – who thought it would devalue the Wallabies jersey to pick him before he’d committed to a longer rugby union contract.

But Robinson is clearly a fan.

“It’s amazing. I was able to play two different sports in league and union. You look at Israel, he’s got three to his name,” Robinson said. “That in itself suggests he’s something special.”

“Australia have got some exceptional outside backs already, let’s be honest, but he has so many different qualities, he’s an exceptional talent,” added Robinson.

“Every time a Lions tour comes up, there’s always one or two players who … pops up and seems to stand out. He is one of those players. He could cause the Lions problems.”

Article source: http://www.planet-rugby.co.za/lions/story/0,25883,3819_8753539,00.html

Rugby Union: Farrell has no worries with Brits after clash

Owen Farrell insists there are “no dramas” between him and his Saracens colleague Schalk Brits after their Hong Kong Stadium bust-up.

Brits will serve a three-week ban at the start of next season following his citing for striking Farrell during Saturday’s clash between the Barbarians and British and Irish Lions.

Referee Steve Walsh initially penalised Farrell for reacting to Brits’ indiscretion, but he reversed the decision – and yellow-carded Brits – on viewing big-screen television replays.

Baa-Baas hooker Brits appeared at an International Rugby Board disciplinary hearing yesterday, where judicial officer Steve Lewis imposed the sanction.

He has also apologised to Farrell on Twitter.

Reflecting on the first-half incident, Lions fly-half Farrell said: “Things happen in rugby.

“I was trying to hold him into a ruck, and he reacted to that. It all happens in rugby. There’s no dramas there.

“When someone reacts to you, you try not to take a backward step, not just in this occasion but in every occasion. I just grabbed him. There was nothing nasty in it.

“It is a reminder of how vital it is to keep cool and not respond to provocation.

“These are big games, every game for the Lions is massive, and to lose someone to the bin would be massive. You can’t afford to do that – everyone has to be disciplined.

“I shook Schalk’s hand after the game, and he apologised when he came back on to the field.”

Farrell kicked 15 points in the Lions’ 59-8 triumph, but he admitted the hot and humid conditions had a major effect on proceedings.

“It was tough to handle the ball out there,” he added.

“It felt fine during the warm-up when everything was dry, but as soon as your shirt got wet and people’s hands were wet passing the ball, which was soaking, you might have been playing in torrential rain as far as the ball was concerned.

“I have never played in humidity like that. It was tough, but it wasn’t unbearable.

“I know that you are going to have to get your recovery right now. Some people will have to back up for the next game, so that’s important.”

That next fixture – against Western Force in Perth on Wednesday – could see tour captain Sam Warburton make his first playing contribution on the 10-match trip.

Wales flanker Warburton missed the Baa-Baas encounter as a precaution, resting a knee injury, with Ireland lock Paul O’Connell taking over as skipper.

“Sam is doing really well, and indeed, he could have played in Saturday’s game,” Lions doctor James Robson said.

“The trouble was that he has had a previous injury to his leg there, so for anyone carrying, or having had previous injuries, we are always ultra-cautious of.

“He has not got a privileged position because he is captain. We would have made the decision on anybody in that position.

“Last week, he just got a knock in training which seemed relatively innocuous. With the flight (from London to Hong Kong) and stiffening up a little, he just felt his knee a little.

“We pulled him out of training and advised Warren (Lions head coach Warren Gatland) that we would rather give him a few days extra.

“My colleague Eanna Falvey thought it would be beneficial just to put a tiny bit of steroid around the area because that can help with the discomfort, and Sam has had enormous benefit from that.

“Given that he didn’t play last night, he should be available for the next game.

“It is a mild tweak of literally a few fibres of his ligament and possibly his muscle.

“It is not a dramatic injury, he didn’t pull up. He just presented when we got here when we got off the plane.”

Irish flanker Sean O’Brien (bone bruising) and Wales powerhouse prop Gethin Jenkins (calf muscle) have returned to normal training, while full-back Rob Kearney is also progressing well.

“Rob is running today and has been progressing nicely. He had a niggle allegedly in his hamstring, but it may have been a bit of referred pain from his back,” Robson added.

“He is with the physios, hopefully with the view to release him back to team duties.”

Article source: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/ru-headlines/rugby-union-farrell-has-no-worries-with-brits-after-clash-1-5726181

Rugby Union: Farrell has no worries with Brits after clash

Owen Farrell insists there are “no dramas” between him and his Saracens colleague Schalk Brits after their Hong Kong Stadium bust-up.

Brits will serve a three-week ban at the start of next season following his citing for striking Farrell during Saturday’s clash between the Barbarians and British and Irish Lions.

Referee Steve Walsh initially penalised Farrell for reacting to Brits’ indiscretion, but he reversed the decision – and yellow-carded Brits – on viewing big-screen television replays.

Baa-Baas hooker Brits appeared at an International Rugby Board disciplinary hearing yesterday, where judicial officer Steve Lewis imposed the sanction.

He has also apologised to Farrell on Twitter.

Reflecting on the first-half incident, Lions fly-half Farrell said: “Things happen in rugby.

“I was trying to hold him into a ruck, and he reacted to that. It all happens in rugby. There’s no dramas there.

“When someone reacts to you, you try not to take a backward step, not just in this occasion but in every occasion. I just grabbed him. There was nothing nasty in it.

“It is a reminder of how vital it is to keep cool and not respond to provocation.

“These are big games, every game for the Lions is massive, and to lose someone to the bin would be massive. You can’t afford to do that – everyone has to be disciplined.

“I shook Schalk’s hand after the game, and he apologised when he came back on to the field.”

Farrell kicked 15 points in the Lions’ 59-8 triumph, but he admitted the hot and humid conditions had a major effect on proceedings.

“It was tough to handle the ball out there,” he added.

“It felt fine during the warm-up when everything was dry, but as soon as your shirt got wet and people’s hands were wet passing the ball, which was soaking, you might have been playing in torrential rain as far as the ball was concerned.

“I have never played in humidity like that. It was tough, but it wasn’t unbearable.

“I know that you are going to have to get your recovery right now. Some people will have to back up for the next game, so that’s important.”

That next fixture – against Western Force in Perth on Wednesday – could see tour captain Sam Warburton make his first playing contribution on the 10-match trip.

Wales flanker Warburton missed the Baa-Baas encounter as a precaution, resting a knee injury, with Ireland lock Paul O’Connell taking over as skipper.

“Sam is doing really well, and indeed, he could have played in Saturday’s game,” Lions doctor James Robson said.

“The trouble was that he has had a previous injury to his leg there, so for anyone carrying, or having had previous injuries, we are always ultra-cautious of.

“He has not got a privileged position because he is captain. We would have made the decision on anybody in that position.

“Last week, he just got a knock in training which seemed relatively innocuous. With the flight (from London to Hong Kong) and stiffening up a little, he just felt his knee a little.

“We pulled him out of training and advised Warren (Lions head coach Warren Gatland) that we would rather give him a few days extra.

“My colleague Eanna Falvey thought it would be beneficial just to put a tiny bit of steroid around the area because that can help with the discomfort, and Sam has had enormous benefit from that.

“Given that he didn’t play last night, he should be available for the next game.

“It is a mild tweak of literally a few fibres of his ligament and possibly his muscle.

“It is not a dramatic injury, he didn’t pull up. He just presented when we got here when we got off the plane.”

Irish flanker Sean O’Brien (bone bruising) and Wales powerhouse prop Gethin Jenkins (calf muscle) have returned to normal training, while full-back Rob Kearney is also progressing well.

“Rob is running today and has been progressing nicely. He had a niggle allegedly in his hamstring, but it may have been a bit of referred pain from his back,” Robson added.

“He is with the physios, hopefully with the view to release him back to team duties.”

Article source: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/ru-headlines/rugby-union-farrell-has-no-worries-with-brits-after-clash-1-5726181

Golden Lions bump Samoa 74-14 in rugby

Samoa were devoured 74-14 by a Golden Lions ON Saturday as they warmed adult for a quadrangular rugby array in South Africa.

After trailing 27-14 during half-time, a Pacific islanders conceded 7 second-half tries before a sun-drenched 15,000 throng during Ellis Park.

Woeful fortifying authorised a Lions to measure too many soothing tries.

Samoa full-back Paul Williams, a son of former New Zealand good Bryan Williams, refused to use a 1,800-metre Johannesburg altitude as an excuse.

“It is partial of rugby and we have to adapt. This outcome is impossibly unsatisfactory for us,” a skipper confessed.

“Nothing incited out a approach we had designed and there is a lot of work to be finished before confronting Scotland subsequent weekend.

“We were blank a few gifted players, who will arrive early subsequent week, though a side is used to this conditions and should have achieved most better.”

Samoa began brightly with left wing Alesana Tuilagi scoring a initial try of a afternoon on 10 mins and fly-half Ki Anufe converted.

But a islanders authorised surrogate side Derick Minnie to boat over for 3 tries before half-time and fly-half Marnitz Boshoff converted them all.

The hulk Samoans — tighthead column James Johnston weighs 138 kilograms — ran out of steam during a second half and a final alarm was a relief.

Samoa face Scotland on Jun 8 during Kings Park in Durban and Italy on Jun 15 during new Test venue Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Depending on those results, Samoa will face Scotland, Italy or South Africa for initial or third place on Jun 22 during Loftus Versfeld track in Pretoria.

Scotland, Samoa and South Africa were drawn in a same organisation for a 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

Tuilagi and No.8 Ofisa Treviranus were a Samoan try scorers with Anufe slotting both conversions, though unwell with a first-half chastisement kick.

Minnie (3), left wing Anthony Volmink, full-back Chrysander Botha, fly-half Lionel Cronje, centre Stokkies Hanekom (2), scrum-half Ross Cronje and right wing Deon outpost Rensburg scored tries for a Lions.

Boshoff, who started a diversion during No.10, slotted 3 conversions and dual penalties and Lionel Cronje succeeded with 6 of 7 acclimatisation attempts.

Dumped from Super Rugby after finishing bottom of a list final season, a Lions are scheming for a two-leg South African relegation-promotion play-off.

Article source: http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8668450

Golden Lions bump Samoa 74-14 in rugby

Samoa were devoured 74-14 by a Golden Lions ON Saturday as they warmed adult for a quadrangular rugby array in South Africa.

After trailing 27-14 during half-time, a Pacific islanders conceded 7 second-half tries before a sun-drenched 15,000 throng during Ellis Park.

Woeful fortifying authorised a Lions to measure too many soothing tries.

Samoa full-back Paul Williams, a son of former New Zealand good Bryan Williams, refused to use a 1,800-metre Johannesburg altitude as an excuse.

“It is partial of rugby and we have to adapt. This outcome is impossibly unsatisfactory for us,” a skipper confessed.

“Nothing incited out a approach we had designed and there is a lot of work to be finished before confronting Scotland subsequent weekend.

“We were blank a few gifted players, who will arrive early subsequent week, though a side is used to this conditions and should have achieved most better.”

Samoa began brightly with left wing Alesana Tuilagi scoring a initial try of a afternoon on 10 mins and fly-half Ki Anufe converted.

But a islanders authorised surrogate side Derick Minnie to boat over for 3 tries before half-time and fly-half Marnitz Boshoff converted them all.

The hulk Samoans — tighthead column James Johnston weighs 138 kilograms — ran out of steam during a second half and a final alarm was a relief.

Samoa face Scotland on Jun 8 during Kings Park in Durban and Italy on Jun 15 during new Test venue Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Depending on those results, Samoa will face Scotland, Italy or South Africa for initial or third place on Jun 22 during Loftus Versfeld track in Pretoria.

Scotland, Samoa and South Africa were drawn in a same organisation for a 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

Tuilagi and No.8 Ofisa Treviranus were a Samoan try scorers with Anufe slotting both conversions, though unwell with a first-half chastisement kick.

Minnie (3), left wing Anthony Volmink, full-back Chrysander Botha, fly-half Lionel Cronje, centre Stokkies Hanekom (2), scrum-half Ross Cronje and right wing Deon outpost Rensburg scored tries for a Lions.

Boshoff, who started a diversion during No.10, slotted 3 conversions and dual penalties and Lionel Cronje succeeded with 6 of 7 acclimatisation attempts.

Dumped from Super Rugby after finishing bottom of a list final season, a Lions are scheming for a two-leg South African relegation-promotion play-off.

Article source: http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8668450

England Women win initial FIRA European Sevens leg in Brive

Defending European champions England Women took a initial turn of a European Sevens Series currently (Sunday) in Brive with a 30-7 feat opposite Russia in a final.

Barry Maddocks’ side tender in a final opposite a Russian outfit who have been one of a form teams in Sevens universe rugby of late, final violence England in a World Series only final month.

But it was not to be Russia’s day this time around and England instead powered to a 30-7 feat interjection to dual tries any for Joanne Watmore, Katherine Merchant and Michaela Staniford.

England requisitioned their place in a final after a semi-final win over final year’s finalists Spain. Again, England were in widespread form using in 26-0 winners with Heather Fisher this time adding a brace. Staniford and Watmore were on a scoreboard once again and Emily Scarratt combined 3 conversions.

England Sevens Head Coach Maddocks, whose side also degraded Germany, Wales, Portugal, a Netherlands and Russia in a pool stages, said: “We are really gratified with a approach a initial turn has gone. Obviously we have got another leg to go though to get turn one underneath a belts with a purify piece and also violence Russia in a final is a good outcome and one that we are really gratified with.

“The patrol have achieved good this weekend though there is still lots to work on in a subsequent month as a countdown continues to a Rugby World Cup.”

The final turn of a European Sevens Series takes place on Jun 15-16 in Marbella only dual weeks before a Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow (June 28-30).

Day 2 Results

Final: England 30 Russia 7

Tries: Merchant (2), Watmore (2), Staniford (2)

Semi-final: England 26 Spain 0

Tries: Fisher (2), Staniford, Watmore

Conversions: Scarratt (3)

Pool Game: England 42 Wales 0

Tries: Allan (2), Merchant (2), Fisher, Scarratt, Matthews, Richardson

Conversions: McLean

 

Article source: http://ur7s.com/news/2808/england_women_win_first_fira_european_sevens_leg_in_brive

England Women win initial FIRA European Sevens leg in Brive

Defending European champions England Women took a initial turn of a European Sevens Series currently (Sunday) in Brive with a 30-7 feat opposite Russia in a final.

Barry Maddocks’ side tender in a final opposite a Russian outfit who have been one of a form teams in Sevens universe rugby of late, final violence England in a World Series only final month.

But it was not to be Russia’s day this time around and England instead powered to a 30-7 feat interjection to dual tries any for Joanne Watmore, Katherine Merchant and Michaela Staniford.

England requisitioned their place in a final after a semi-final win over final year’s finalists Spain. Again, England were in widespread form using in 26-0 winners with Heather Fisher this time adding a brace. Staniford and Watmore were on a scoreboard once again and Emily Scarratt combined 3 conversions.

England Sevens Head Coach Maddocks, whose side also degraded Germany, Wales, Portugal, a Netherlands and Russia in a pool stages, said: “We are really gratified with a approach a initial turn has gone. Obviously we have got another leg to go though to get turn one underneath a belts with a purify piece and also violence Russia in a final is a good outcome and one that we are really gratified with.

“The patrol have achieved good this weekend though there is still lots to work on in a subsequent month as a countdown continues to a Rugby World Cup.”

The final turn of a European Sevens Series takes place on Jun 15-16 in Marbella only dual weeks before a Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow (June 28-30).

Day 2 Results

Final: England 30 Russia 7

Tries: Merchant (2), Watmore (2), Staniford (2)

Semi-final: England 26 Spain 0

Tries: Fisher (2), Staniford, Watmore

Conversions: Scarratt (3)

Pool Game: England 42 Wales 0

Tries: Allan (2), Merchant (2), Fisher, Scarratt, Matthews, Richardson

Conversions: McLean

 

Article source: http://ur7s.com/news/2808/england_women_win_first_fira_european_sevens_leg_in_brive

Greig Laidlaw ‘ over ‘ Lions impugn and prepared to concentration on Scotland duty

Greig Laidlaw says he’s put a beating of blank out on a place with a British and Irish Lions behind him and is prepared to concentration on Scotland.

The scrum-half wasn’t comparison by Warren Gatland for a debate of Australia notwithstanding an considerable Six Nations campaign.

The Edinburgh series 9 saw general team-mates Sean Maitland, Stuart Hogg and Richie Gray picked for a 3 tests.

However Laidlaw says he has prepared to do his best for his nation in a four-team contest in South Africa.

He told Press Association Sport: “Of march we wanted to go [with a Lions]. It was their decision, I’m over it now and focusing on Scotland.

“I was happy with how we played during a Six Nations. They didn’t wish to take me and we can live with that.

“I played a best rugby of my career during a championships. We finished third and we was really happy with that. we was happy with my form, now I’m only anticipating to pull on with this summer tour.”

Article source: http://sport.stv.tv/rugby/227791-greig-laidlaw-over-lions-snub-and-ready-to-focus-on-scotland-duty/

Cheltenham teen dynamic to pull on to make England rugby team

ATTEMPTS by a teenage rugby actor to make it on to a general stage competence have suffered a setback.

But Millie Wood is still dynamic to eventually grasp her idea – in memory of her late mother.

Millie, from Battledown, was told during a weekend that she did not make it into a England Under-20 rugby group after trials during Surrey Sports Centre.

Her mother, Heidi, was a Commonwealth Games china medalist in swimming.


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She died final Oct after battling with breast cancer for some-more than 9 months.

Millie spends some-more than 20 hours any week personification and training for rugby.

The versatile centre said: “I was apparently unhappy since it has been something we have been operative really tough on. But we knew from a trials that we competence not be utterly there yet.

“With this knowledge though, we will need to start operative harder to get to that standard, and we am dynamic to make it subsequent time.”

The former athlete, who represented England schools during shot putt final year, is concentrating her efforts to make certain she can accommodate a class subsequent year.

She added: “My silent is my biggest impulse in all we do, and we wish to grasp so most to make her proud. My father has upheld me in everything, and he gives me so much. He takes me everywhere, and if we need new pack or anything, he is always happy to assistance me.

“The trials went well, and we am happy with how we performed, though it’s removing to a subsequent level.

“I know it competence not be utterly what a coaches were looking for yet, though we will get there if we get to hearing again subsequent year.”

The Gloucester Rugby fan, who was also a deteriorate sheet hilt during Kingsholm, pronounced her favourite players embody full behind Olly Morgan and wing James Simpson-Daniel.

Millie’s father, Paul, 49, said: “I’m certain she will not get too down and come behind stronger subsequent year to trial.

“She has got years forward of her, and a lot of a coaches were ancillary her. The knowledge is good for her, and will mount her in good stead for subsequent year. we am intensely unapproachable of her, and a approach she rubbed it. She’s taken it in her walk and will give it another go subsequent year.”

Article source: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Cheltenham-teenager-determined-push-make-England/story-19120987-detail/story.html

Folau – the Wallabies’ Billy Whizz?

Israel Folau

Catch him, if you can: Israel Folau


It’s a wonder Izzy isn’t dizzy, considering all the shuffling around he’s done from sport to sport and the highs he has hit in rival rugby codes on either side of his failed adventure in Australia’s unique football game.

Israel Folau’s path to a once-in-a-dozen years series against the British and Irish Lions has been … perhaps best described simply as different.

Better known as Izzy, Folau played rugby league for Australia and was a star for Queensland in the State-of-Origin series against New South Wales, one of the fiercest and most rugged annual rivalries in any sport.

His ascent in rugby league was so rapid that it seemed to him to be almost too easy, so he sought another challenge. With his size and ability to leap high for catches in crowded areas, he figured a stint as a marquee signing for a new Western Sydney club in the nationwide Aussie rules competition couldn’t do him any harm.

That left-field move backfired. He never properly picked up the nuances of the predominantly kicking-oriented game, and so he searched elsewhere for another challenge and found the Super Rugby clubs only too happy to welcome him to a third professional sport.

He has been an almost instant hit with the Waratahs, where his powerful running game, his strength and his rugby league-style tackling have converted even the most rusted-on rugby union aficionados who doubted he’d adapt to the 15-a-side game.

At 24, and without any guarantee that he’ll play rugby union beyond 2013, Folau was picked by coach Robbie Deans in his initial 25-man Wallabies squad for the Lions series with potential to cover full-back, wing or center.

“I haven’t seen much of the previous series … and, personally, I don’t know too many of their players,” Folau said at the time, reflecting on his knowledge of the Lions.

“I guess I’m still new to knowing all the faces of the game but that might be a thing that could work in my favor.”

He didn’t even need to watch the tape to know the impact of Jason Robinson, who celebrated his run-on Test debut with a try in the first three minutes for the British and Irish Lions to start the 2001 series. Robinson’s speed and step earned him representative honors for Britain in rugby league, and also made him a star in the more global rugby union.

“You’ve probably seen when Jason Robinson made the transition from league, he did a great job,” Folau noted in a TV interview when asked about his rapid elevation to the national squad.

After a distinguished rugby league career, Robinson earned 51 caps for England in rugby union before retiring after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Folau’s potential to play full-back, center or wing could make him even more dangerous to an opposition. But he’s not getting ahead of himself.

“I’m very confident in my own ability but I’m not guaranteed to get a starting spot,” he said.

“I’m just happy to be named in the 25-man squad.”

Folau made his National Rugby League debut at 17 and his international rugby league debut at 18, so he’s hardly likely to be overawed by the occasion after making the transition to union.

After 300 rugby league games for Wigan, Robinson said he played his first game of rugby union in November 2000, played three Tests as a substitute for England in February and then earned his first run-on test cap for the Lions in Brisbane in June 2001. It took seconds for him to make his impact on the wing, sprinting down the left touchline, then wrong-footing experienced Australian full-back Chris Latham to open the scoring in the series.

“You know something? At the time, I didn’t know who Chris Latham was,” Robinson told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph earlier in the week.

“Later I found out he was one of the best full-backs to ever play the game, and is a very intelligent player.

“My strength, being a bit of a midget, was my feet and I managed to just get on the outside of him. It was just on the day, everything went well for us. But after that, it didn’t.”

Robinson also scored an important try in the third test, but the Australians countered to produce a series-clinching win in Sydney.

He thinks Folau can make an impact on the series, if given the chance. There were criticis of Folau’s inclusion in selection calculations, including Brumbies Super Rugby coach Jake White – South Africa’s Word Cup winning coach – who thought it would devalue the Wallabies jersey to pick him before he’d committed to a longer rugby union contract.

But Robinson is clearly a fan.

“It’s amazing. I was able to play two different sports in league and union. You look at Israel, he’s got three to his name,” Robinson said. “That in itself suggests he’s something special.”

“Australia have got some exceptional outside backs already, let’s be honest, but he has so many different qualities, he’s an exceptional talent,” added Robinson.

“Every time a Lions tour comes up, there’s always one or two players who … pops up and seems to stand out. He is one of those players. He could cause the Lions problems.”

Article source: http://www.planet-rugby.co.za/lions/story/0,25883,3551_8753539,00.html