Article

Cheika buoyed by Folau transition

14 February 2013 23:16

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says NRL convert Israel Folau's first three games in his new code have been 'very positive'.

Folau played himself into the starting side for the Waratahs' season opener against the Reds on Saturday week with a man-of-the-match performance in Wednesday's 16-14 trial loss to the Crusaders.

The 23-year-old broke the line with his first touch of the game against a near full-strength Crusaders side and was a constant threat with ball in hand in a physical but scrappy encounter in front of 6,824 fans.

Cheika has attempted to play down Folau's bright start to his rugby career all pre-season but concedes the code hopper is on track after cutting his AFL experiment short at the end of last year.

"He played OK yeah, he looked dangerous when he got the ball which is really good and he had a few good counter attacks," Cheika said.

"I think we've got to try and get him into the game a little bit more from our set-piece - we'll have to work out how to do that and we've got a few ideas on what we can do.

"But all in all his first three games have been very positive for his entry into rugby I would say."

"He didn't get caught out too much (in terms of positional play), we got caught out on turnover a couple of times but we were hard on attack and we turned over some bad balls just on the edge of the ruck one or two times.

"All in all it's pretty positive for him."

Cheika was pleased with rookie flyhalf Ben Volavola's performance in the absence of injured duo Berrick Barnes (knee) and Bernard Foley (ankle).

"I thought he pretty much showed where he's good and where he needs to improve," he said of the Southern Districts star.

"He's a great instinctive player and he understands how to take the line on, but he's not played a lot as a playmaker in a team before, he's played a lot of full-back and we're converting him into that (flyhalf) role.

"The regularity of his distribution needs to improve but we knew that before today ... he's making triple the passes that he'd normally make in a game so he has to go through that process."

Asked if Volavola is ready for the Reds clash if needed, Cheika said: "He may have to be.

"We'll have to assess how it goes because Bernard Foley's had two games now so he's got enough footy under his belt ... but we have to see how he recovers from injury and once I have a look at the game on video and see what shapes up we'll make a call."

Cheika was enthused by his side's overall performance against the Crusaders after scoring two tries to one against the seven-time champions.

"We want to win but I think you saw by the way we decided not to take (a possible nine) penalty kicks for goal that we understand the balance of what we want to get out of the practice matches as well," he said.

Latest news

29 August 2014

 09:40
 09:23
 09:03
 08:32
 07:48
 07:26
 06:40
 06:35
 06:31
 06:29
 05:41
 05:40
 05:37
 05:07
 04:39
 04:36
 04:30
 04:28
 04:07
 03:46
 03:28
 02:57
 02:29
 02:29
 01:47
 01:42
 01:03
 01:00
 00:37

28 August 2014

 23:51
 23:44
 23:43
 23:35
 23:26
 23:00
 22:54
 22:53
 22:41
 22:41
 22:32
 22:17
 22:01
 22:01
 21:53
 21:35
 21:32
 21:06
 20:55
 20:43
 20:35
 20:33
 19:57
 19:51
 19:41
 19:33
 19:23
 19:19
 19:15
 19:10
 18:55
 18:38
 17:44
 17:34
 17:21
 17:20
 17:00
 16:59
 16:52
 16:38
 16:32