It Took 13 Games For Israel Folau To Become A Rugby Union International

He was a great Rugby League player, one of the best in the world. He was offered an impossible amount of money to switch to AFL. Now, after just 13 games, Israel Folau has walked into the Australian Rugby Union test team, his form making it impossible for the ARU to offer his position to anyone else.

It is hilarious to see how Rugby Union types have talked about Israel Folau since he joined the sport. From day one Folau has looked head and shoulders above anyone else on the field when ever he has played. Folau has been playing on a completely different level, his Rugby League roots shining through despite the toll a couple of years of AFL training took on him.

As Folau destroyed opposition teams, the Rugby Union commentators and journalists kept asking the question “Will he make it?”. As Folau scored tries that make up pretty much all of the highlights in “Super” Rugby this season they kept questioning if he was good enough to be selected for the ARU test team.

Could Folau handle the pressure of the big games? Could he match it against the worlds best? These were questions they were asking of Folau as he cared up Rugby Union teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Folau went from AFL and become the best Rugby Union playing in Australia within the space of a few weeks.

Of course, Rugby Union types do everything they can to avoid mentioning his Rugby League roots. Folau joins a long list of former Rugby League clubs who has walked into a Rugby Union test just weeks after making his Rugby Union debut.

Here is a list of Rugby League players who made the switch to Rugby Union and walked into test teams:

Iestyn Harris – 11 Days – Welsh test Side
Brian Carney – 1 Month and 16 Days – Irish Test Side
Lesley Vainikolo – 3 Months and 22 Days – English Test Side
Matt Rogers – 3 Months and 28 Days – Australian Test Side
Wendel Sailor – 3 Months And 29 Days – Australian Test Side
Timana Tahu – 5 Months and 9 Days – Australian Test Side

There was once a time where Rugby Union banned players from ever playing their game if they set foot on a Rugby League field. As Rugby League was a professional game and Rugby Union didn’t like paying tax, it was the great divide between the supposed upper class game and the rabble that was Rugby League.

When Rugby Union went professional in 1995 after the spectre of Super League threatened to crush the sport, the divide was changed. Rugby League players weren’t as skilled, they couldn’t come to terms with the complex nature of Rugby Union. There is no way they would have the kicking game to compete in Rugby Union and don’t even start about the ability of a Rugby League players to compete in the forwards in Rugby Union….it just wouldn’t happen.

Of course, all of these myths have been shattered many times over by now. Rugby League players that switched to Rugby Union were just head and shoulders above everyone else.

That someone like Brad Thorn could end his Rugby League career and STILL be playing to this very day, having a second career in Rugby Union in which he was so good he could take time off and pick and choose when he played for the All Blacks says it all.

Israel Folau joins a long, long list of Rugby League players who have switched to Rugby Union and become one of the games best within a matter of weeks.

Folau has yet to re-sign with the ARU. The line is that he is waiting to see if he enjoys the internationals before he re-signs. What is more likely is that he is ready to return to Rugby League and he didn’t want to sign a contract with an NRL club and have the ARU block him from playing for their test team.

Like most people in Australia, I couldn’t give a stuff about the Lions Tour. I won’t be watching any of the games. The crowds might be big but the series has not come close to breaking into the mainstream sporting conversation in Australia. We are all far more interested in Rugby League, the NRL, the State Of Origin series, the AFL in southern states, Soccer and even the train wreck that is the Australian Cricket team.

I for one look forward to seeing Israel Folau back on the Rugby League field and playing a sport that is relevant to Australian’s again.

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8 thoughts on “It Took 13 Games For Israel Folau To Become A Rugby Union International

  1. Say what, you really do live in a delusional world.

    Hows the Rugby League World Cup shaping up this year by the way, what chance of say Lebanon or hang on Russia could be the dark horse or what about Italys chances. Do any of these countrys compatriots actually play in the teams or are they just filled with second rate players from the 3 very small provinces that actually play the offspring of Rugby.

    Rugby league is a one dimensional boreathon hybrid of Rugby Union, that would never have existed without the proliferation of The Rugby code.

    Hello there, this translates to you wouldnt be slinging off at Rugby if there was no Rugby.

    5 tackles Kick, 5 tackles kick, 5 tackles kick, 5 tackles kick, 5 tackles kick, 5 tackles kick and so on and so forth game after game after game after game any way I think you get the idea.

    See its not hard to mouth off at anything really, you red neck.

  2. Let’s pack scrums endlessly and work for penalty kicks.

    How’s that for a game structure. Still it is funny how Rugby League players walk into Rugby Unions tests teams with ease. Not a very hard of a game Rugby Union.

    It is funny that you call me a red neck though. I’m black. Well done.

  3. Mate the colour of your skin is irrelevant. Its the waffle coming from your keyboard that I disagree with.

    My point is, it is easy to pick the good and bad points of any particular code of sport and highlight it for your own purposes.

    I actually did not read the article, just saw the headline, as I could tell what the article was just another mungo slinging off at rugby, you guys really do have an inferiority complex.

    Oh by the way Ray Price, Dally Messenger, Michael O’Conner, Rex Mossop, Ricky Stuart etc etc.

    Lets just run it off the play the ball (League calls it a Ruck, sound familiar) 5 times and then give them the ball.
    What!!! you are going to give them the ball, just like that, no contest, no hang on, lets have a lean to and pretend its a scrum.

    The Wallabies will play in front of an estimated 250 000 people on the Spring Tour for just 4 games, How does that compare with your league crowds.

    Seen the papers today, even the Telegraph (league daily) has front and back page pictures of the Lions games,

    Oh thats right nobody is interested.

  4. Don’t be upset. When a League players decides they want a union test jersey, they walk in and take it with ease. It all comes down to rugby union because a fucking terrible games played by shit players. That’s all. There’s no need to throw insults at people you dumb fuck.

  5. Ouch, the truth hurts real bad hey league freak!! its you your article and your the one throwing insults.
    I am just standing up for what I enjoy and merely pointing out the misconception perpetuated by the majority of hard core league fans like you.

    Rugby league needs Israel Folau, Andrew Johns, Sonny Bill Williams and the like because they sell personalities not the game itself, and they know it wont and doesnt sell without them. Rugby in Australia may also benefit from the local profile they have, but internationally we mean squat diddly.

    Rugby will always be there because the worldwide popularity of the game will ensure that. The same cannot be said for league, their followers and administers know this, which is why they are always denigrating Rugby – like an incompetent tradie blames his tools or bad mouths his competition.

    And you can call me what you like, as you have now reverted to a personal attack on me because you know I have the better argument and rugby union by far the superior game

    Let whoever reads this be the judge of who is throwing the insults.

    Rugby league is hybrid Rugby Union and always will be and that league freak is the end of the story.

  6. I don’t know. The NRL got $1,200,000,000 without Folau, Williams or long retired Andrew Johns, so I’d suggest they are probably sellin a game and not just “personalities”…..

  7. So whats the problem?

    And why do you leaguies squeal like a stuck pig when one of ‘your’ players decides to tap the market and have a go at a sport with a little more of a challenge, and perhaps earn a bit more spondoola in the process

    You are such a good writer / advocate for rugby league,(NOT) given the same circumstances, if somebody offered you say $2.4mill to write for AFL or dare I say it Rugby for 3 years, I am sure you would think it through???

    I really dont know what your point is, the article is full of untruths and misconception, (I surmise it is through a lack of intelligence), Only once have you countered with an argument, the rest of the time you have either hurled insults or played the race card.

    This is not a website for intelligent discussion but a forum to denigrate what ever you dont like. And it is intolerant selfish bullies like you that make life a little uncomfortable for some people.

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