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Folau praised despite costly error

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Israel Folau praised despite costly error

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has praised the performance of star Israel Folau despite his costly error that ended the match against Argentina on Saturday.

Folau, who started a test match on the wing for the first time in five years, proved incredibly effective all the way until the final siren.

Cheika used the 29-year-old in various positions across the backline throughout the night and kept him heavily involved to put the Pumas on their toes. Folau led his side with 13 runs and 127 run metres, good for an average just shy of 10 metres per carry.

“We had a strategy to move him around a fair bit like that, both in attack and defence, and I think it went quite well,” Cheika said.

“I thought he had a lot of touches and he played well with the touches that he had.”

Folau scored a stunning try in the 19th minute after weaving through four Pumas, but went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde with the game on the line as he decided against passing to an unmarked Bernard Foley on the stroke of full time.

Folau made the decision to keep the ball himself and subsequently knocked on in the tackle of Tomas Lavanini, sealing the 23-19 win for the Pumas.

Cheika said he hadn’t spoken to Folau specifically about those final moments and was reluctant to put the blame on his star’s shoulders.

“I think that to put everything into the last play of the game is a bit naive for us,” he said.

“Yes, you could have maybe got the win but you shouldn’t be in that situation in the first place with the amount of opportunities we had beforehand and the amount of times we’ve let those opportunities go.

“It should have been well and truly finished before then.

“I still would have taken winning, mind you, don’t get me wrong.

“But if you’re fair dinkum you don’t want to be letting that cover up other issues.”

Australia will resume their Rugby Championship campaign in two weeks’ time when they meet South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

In other news:

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Israel Folau praised despite costly error