Israel Folau is keeping his options open beyond next year’s World Cup, with rugby facing an uphill battle to keep him.
Wallabies superstar Israel Folau admits he misses State of Origin and insists he no idea what he will do with his career after next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Folau will become the hottest property across two codes ahead of coming off contract in 2015, with NRL clubs and cashed-up foreign rugby clubs to provide competition as the Australian Rugby Union attempts to retain its biggest drawcard.
The fullback made it clear on Monday he’s keeping all options open.
Reports have suggested Folau could be tempted by a big-money offer from big spending French club rugby champions Toulon before the World Cup, however the 25-year-old ruled out any move before the showpiece event in England starting in September next year.
After that though, it seems all bets are off.
At a Wallabies media opportunity on Monday, Folau acknowledged he missed playing rugby league’s State of Origin for Queensland, an arena where he starred as a youngster.
And he said competing at the 2016 Olympic Games wasn’t something he’s thought much about, even though the ARU are likely to use the prospect of winning the inaugural Rugby Sevens gold medal in Rio as a carrot in their negotiations.
“There’s a lot of options that’s going to be presented when that time comes. I’ll have a look at everything and see what I do from there,” said Folau.
“I’m signed to the ‘Tahs (NSW Waratahs) for next year so that’s all I’m thinking about.
“I (don’t know what the future holds). I’ll assess as we get closer but at this stage I’m just thinking about today.”
It’s been four years since Folau last represented Queensland in rugby league’s State of Origin.
“I miss it a little bit to be quite honest,” Folau said.
“But in saying that I’m grateful I’ve been there before and I’m enjoying where I am right now.”
Asked whether the Olympics might be a lure, Folau would only say, “I wouldn’t write it off.”
Danger man Folau was targeted by the French in Saturday’s dour 6-0 Test match in Melbourne.
They appeared to kick to him, knowing his return kicking is not the strongest, and sent down a solid defensive line to ensure his dangerous counter-attack running didn’t threaten.
He says he expects to be confronted with those tactics regularly leading into the World Cup as teams attempt to nullify his attacking potential.
To combat being the most marked man on the field, Folau says he’s trying to improve his kicking game and build combinations with his outside men.
“That’s just the way it is. They did a good job of that so it’s a matter of finding different ways. I’ve got to work with the guys around me really,” he said.
“I think I’m more reactive to running the ball, but I want to find that balance when to run and when to kick.”