Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says Israel Folau's best
position is still fullback, despite shifting his star recruit
to the wing for Saturday night's Super Rugby clash with the
Brumbies in Canberra.
Ben Volavola will wear the No.15 shirt for his run-on debut
following impressive form off the bench in the opening two
Volavola's combination with five-eighth Bernard Foley caught
the eye of the coach and he's hoping the Southern Districts
product can be just as effective starting.
Folau began at fullback against Queensland and Melbourne, but
his best touches came last weekend against the Rebels when he
moved to the wing in the second half.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans confirmed on Thursday Folau was
"not that far away" from a shock Test debut against the Lions
Cheika "couldn't be asking for it to go any better" when
asked about Folau's transition to rugby and emphasised the
positional switch was simply a tweak in tactics.
"I think Ben's just made it too difficult for me not to pick
him," he said.
"He's playing very well and he's forced me to make some
changes because his combination with Bernard works well and
hopefully we can keep that working.
"It's pretty clear we see (Israel) as a fullback.
"Like I've always said, the back three can interchange. Who
knows? He might end up back at fullback during the game at
Volavola has mainly trained at five-eighth but was a star at
fullback for Southern Districts in last year's Shute Shield
in which they made the grand final.
The 22-year-old from Oatley said it was "a dream come true"
to start for the Waratahs.
"I just need to grab it with both hands," he said.
"I've tried to lift the boys when I came off the bench ...
hopefully this week, we can step up from the get-go."
As a result of the reshuffle, Tom Kingston drops out of the
squad altogether, with Lachie Turner moving to the bench.
Wallabies playmaker Berrick Barnes has again been ruled out
with his knee problem and will be reassessed next week.
There's better news with centre Rob Horne, who is nearly
certain to be available for the following clash with the
With Wycliff Palu to miss the Brumbies match, Dave Dennis
moves to No.8, Mitchell Chapman to blindside flanker and
Sitaleki Timani returns from injury at lock.
Waratahs squad: Ben Volavola, Israel Folau, Adam
Ashley-Cooper, Tom Carter, Drew Mitchell, Bernard Foley,
Brendan McKibbin, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Mitchell
Chapman, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu
Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Luke Holmes, Paddy Ryan, Greg
Peterson, Lopeti Timani, Pat McCutcheon, Matt Lucas, Lachie