Israel Folau says he will be playing fullback – nowhere else – in Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup opener against the All Blacks.
And the defiant Wallabies superstar is also vowing to attack the high ball with his customary vigour despite copping a contentious one-match ban earlier this year for a clumsy aerial challenge on Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika won’t name his starting side until Thursday and has gone to great lengths to keep his side under wraps, but Folau all but revealed he’d be wearing the No.15 jumper in the series opener at ANZ Stadium.
“Well, I’ve been training at fullback. I haven’t been training anywhere else so hopefully, yeah,” Australia’s attacking trump said before Cheika ushered TV cameras and media out of Tuesday’s full team session in Sydney.
“But whatever decisions that ‘Cheik’ makes, it’s best for the team, but I don’t see myself playing any other position other than 15.”
Nor does Folau plan to tone down his aggressive aerial approach after receiving a one-game suspension for making mid-air contact with O’Mahoney during Australia’s last test match, a series-deciding 20-16 loss to Ireland in June.
“I won’t modify anything,” Folau said.
“For me, it doesn’t change anything. Going into the weekend, I’ll have the same mindset in attacking the ball in the air and obviously making good decisions around that.”
Despite failing on appeal to have his ban overturned and believing the laws around aerial challenges remain too grey, Folau insists he will have “absolutely” no apprehension in employing his deadly leap against the world champions.
“I believe my technique is fair play. I’ll attack the ball at every opportunity I get to try and win possession for the team.
“So that mindset won’t change.”
While he’s expected to re-sign until at least after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Folau is off contract at the end of the year, meaning his sixth Bledisloe Cup series could be his last crack at helping the Wallabies regain trans-Tasman bragging rights.
The 29-year-old is making no secret of his burning desire to add the prized piece of silverware to his 2013 Super Rugby triumph with NSW, an NRL grand final victory with Melbourne in 2007 and three straight State of Origin series wins with Queensland from 2008.