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Watch: Israel Folau flies over Damian McKenzie like he is back in the NRL

By Sam Smith
Israel Folau is congratulated by a teammate.

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Former Wallaby fullback Israel Folau is known as one of the best aerial talents either rugby code has seen in history, with his feats in the air leading to many tries for his former clubs.

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The 32-year-old was at it again for the Shining Arcs Tokyo-Bay Urayasu in their clash against the Suntory Sungoliath, when he plucked one out of the air over the top of All Black Damian McKenzie.

McKenzie could only stand and watch as Folau lept high to casually pull in a deft mid-range chip kick to score the Shining Arcs first try of the game after Suntory had raced to a 10-0 lead.

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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 6
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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 6

Folau has flourished for his new team, with the all-time Super Rugby try-scoring record holder living up to reputation by becoming one of the league’s top try scorers.

The former NRL and AFL star is keen on a return to international rugby, which has been made possible by World Rugby’s change of eligibility laws that enables test-capped players to represent a second country.

Players can only switch international allegiance once following a stand down period of three years, and they can only play for a second country if they, their parents or their grandparents were born there.

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Under that criteria, Folau – who last played for the Wallabies in November 2018 – qualifies to play for Tonga, his parents’ nation of birth, with immediate effect.

“Representing your heritage and where you’re from, representing your parents is something that is quite close to not only myself but to many other Polynesians,” Folau said in an interview with AFP. “It would be a huge honour if I got the opportunity. We’ll see if that opportunity comes about but I’d love to put the Tongan jersey on and represent Tonga.”

Former All Blacks such as Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, Vaea Fifita, George Moala and Augustine Pulu are all currently available, or will soon become free, for Tongan selection, as will ex-Wallabies Sekope Kepu and Adam Coleman, among others.

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