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Israel Folau keen to face Wallabies in 2023 grudge match

By Ian Cameron
Israel Folau. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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Controversial fullback Israel Folau is keen to face the Wallabies in a 2023 grudge match on Australian soil next year.

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The 33-year-old now looks nailed on to represent Tonga at the Rugby World Cup next year, according to head coach Toutai Kefu.

What’s more, his inclusion in Kefu’s plans could see Folau line up against Australia as early as next year, with the Wallabies set to Tonga in Brisbane.

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Folau qualifies under a new World Rugby regulation which allows players to represent a second nation that they have links to, provided they have sat out a three-year period of not playing for the initial nation they declared for.

This mean the likes of Malakai Fekitoa, Charles Piutau, George Moala and Vaea Fifita could represent the men in red next year.

The Sea Eagles are yet to qualify for the tournament but are strong favorites to make the flagship event in France next year as Asia Pacific 1.

The prospect of playing the Wallabies is a big motivating factor for Folau, whose acrimonious exit from Australian rugby in 2018 sa1 him sue the union, which terminated his contract after a string of divisive social media posts on homosexuality.

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Folau, currently playing in Japan for the Shining Arcs, is keen to settle a score with RA.

“I mentioned that to him [Folau)]and his eyes lit up at the chance of playing the Wallabies,” Kefu told Fox Sports.

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According to Kefu, Folau’s inclusion has been mentioned by all of the former Tier 1 players who are seeking to represent the island nation next year.

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“Putting this team together for next year, a lot of the other players, players like Charles Piutau, I saw George Moala and Pita Ahki on Wednesday, Malakai Fekitoa, they all keep asking, is Izzy going to play?” he said. “And I’ve said to them, of course, he’s bought in.”

Folau – an NRL star who also had a shot at the AFL – is a massive draw wherever he plays and the prospect of him facing his former employers would certainly bring eyeballs to the game in Australia.

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