'The beast' wary of Izzy

BY rights, a player dubbed “The Beast”- all 189cm and 112kg of him - shouldn't be wary of anyone on a rugby league field.

But giant New Zealand winger Manu Vatuvei almost sounds in awe of the man he is expected to line up against in Friday night's trans-Tasman Test at Brisbane - Israel Folau, who carries the not-so daunting nickname of “Izzy”.

At 195cm and 103kg, Folau can more than match Vatuvei's intimidating physical presence in what looms as a heavyweight winger showdown.

Vatuvei has put his hand up to take on Folau - but sounded like he was giving his foe a character reference.

“He's a pretty strong bloke, he's still only young. He's got a big future ahead of him,” he gushed.

“I love playing against him. You can see how talented he obviously is - he's a great bloke too.

”I rate him the best winger in the game, definitely.“

Vatuvei could lay claim to the same title after a stellar 2008 in which he notched 16 tries in 17 games to help the Warriors go from eighth to 80 minutes away from the NRL grand final. Oh, and winning a World Cup trophy with New Zealand also helped his cause.



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