Lions warned: beware of new Wallabies talent Israel Folau

THE British and Irish Lions should be wary of Australia's 867th and newest Wallaby, Israel Folau, in the first Test at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night because he has a history of scoring twice on debut.

The former NRL star scored two tries on his international rugby league debut for the Kangaroos against New Zealand in 2007, and repeated the feat in his first game for the NSW Waratahs in a pre-season hit-out against the Melbourne Rebels earlier this year.

Now Wallaby coach Robbie Deans has given the talented Folau the chance to continue that tradition after naming him on the right wing for the series opener.

He will earn his first cap having played only 17 games of rugby - three trial matches and 14 Super Rugby games - since joining the Tahs after playing 13 AFL games for Greater Western Sydney.

But despite his lack of experience, Folau has not struggled to find the try line - with eight tries to his name, Folau is Super Rugby's equal top try scorer this season.

Folau is one of three new caps named by Deans in his run-on side, with Brumbies captain Ben Mowen claiming the hotly-contested blindside flanker position ahead of Dave Dennis and Hugh McMeniman, while Christian Lealiifano has won the battle with Pat McCabe to partner Adam Ashley-Cooper in the centres.

The inclusion of the three debutants are not the only changes Deans has made to his starting side from Australia's last Test, against Wales in Cardiff in December.

Only six players, Berrick Barnes, Wycliff Palu, Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Benn Robinson and Ashley-Cooper, remain in the line-up from that 14-12 triumph.

 

Wallabies squad

  • Berrick Barnes
  • Israel Folau
  • Adam Ashley-Cooper
  • Christian Lealiifano
  • Digby Ioane
  • James O'Connor
  • Will Genia
  • Wycliff Palu
  • Michael Hooper
  • Ben Mowen
  • James Horwill (capt)
  • Kane Douglas
  • Ben Alexander
  • Stephen Moore
  • Benn Robinson

Reserves: Saia Faingaa, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Liam Gill, Nick Phipps, Pat McCabe, Kurtley Beale.
 



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