Israel Folau wants more ammunition to launch his deadly aerial raids after becoming Super Rugby’s all-time joint top try-scorer and rocketing the NSW Waratahs into title reckoning with a stunning display against the Crusaders.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson ruefully declared “Israel Folau should be working for NASA” after the superstar fullback brought the record-setting defending champions crashing back to earth with a 20-12 defeat after 19 straight wins.
Folau twice soared into the stratosphere to set up tries off Bernard Foley bombs, the latter sealing victory with a five-pointer of his own that drew the code-hopping freak level with former All Black Doug Howlett on 59 tries.
The dual international cashed in on a deliberate Waratahs tactic to attack the Crusaders in the air, but it’s a ploy Folau believes his side doesn’t use enough.
“Of my 59 tries (in Super Rugby), I’ve probably been lucky to get maybe 10 of them off kicks,” Folau said.
“So it’s something that I’d like to see a lot more because I’m obviously confident in my ability to try and get up and contest for the balls.”
In good news for Waratahs fans, coach Daryl Gibson said he was happy to bow to his attacking trump’s wishes.
“Like the champion player he is, when you ask him to pull out something special, he does,” Gibson said.
“It’s probably the first time that we’ve actually played that tactic. We haven’t really been kicking him enough ball, nor been good enough in putting it in the right areas for him.
“The best way to get through these guys is through the air and the best way to do that is to go to your go-to man.”
Folau has no doubts the Waratahs can build off their precious win over the competition’s benchmark outfit but placed the onus on teammates to consistently deliver.
“I know we’ve definitely got it in us,” he said of last year’s semi-finalists.
“But when you’re playing the best team in the comp for a long time, I think any team can step up.
“The challenge going forward now is not being complacent with that win.”
They could be without Jed Holloway, another try-scorer against the Crusaders, after the hard-working lock suffered rib cartilage damage on Saturday night.
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