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Fitting Folau under cap a struggle: Rebels

By Will Knight, Will Knight is a Roar Guru


19 Have your say

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    Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill says he can’t fathom how Super Rugby rivals NSW Waratahs could fit off-contract code-hopper Israel Folau under the newly introduced salary cap.

    Rugby union has emerged as the next stop for 23-year-old Folau after he turned down an offer to return to rugby league in the NRL with Parramatta last week, having quit his multi-million dollar AFL deal with Greater Western Sydney last month.

    Labelled a cash-hungry mercenary in some quarters after walking away from protracted talks with Parramatta, Folau took to Twitter late on Sunday.

    “Everyone is entitled to their opinions! But I’ll speak the truth when it’s my time,” Folau tweeted.

    That time may be as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, with speculation rife the former Kangaroos centre is poised to sign a one-year deal with the Waratahs.

    Along with the Rebels, the Tahs are the only Australian franchises to have a spot to fill on their 30-man roster for next season.

    But the Rebels, who were reportedly extremely close to signing Folau in 2010 before he moved to the AFL, on Monday shut the door on the possibility of recruiting the former Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos centre.

    “Israel is a rare talent and would be a great asset for rugby,” said Hill.

    “But I can’t see how any Super Rugby clubs, including the Rebels, could afford him with the late timing and the salary caps that have been enforced.”

    That leaves the Tahs as the only viable option for the off-contract Folau, who struggled badly in AFL and left GWS admitting “the passion wasn’t there.”

    A $4.5 million salary cap for each of Australia’s five Super Rugby clubs has been introduced for the first time and takes effect from the start of next year as the Australian Rugby Union attempts to rein in player salaries.

    Finding a spot for Folau in a Waratahs backline already flush with Wallabies outside backs would create a selection poser for new coach Michael Cheika.

    But before he can even grapple with that dilemma, chief executive Jason Allen and Folau’s manager Isaac Moses must first wrestle with the financial predicament.

    The Waratahs are likely to have a minimal amount left in their kitty for next season to offer Folau, who was paid $1.5 million per season at GWS.

    The Eels drew up a deal for Folau reportedly worth $3 million over four years.

    Even if a slimmed down deal for next season can be agreed upon, the NRL’s soon-to-be increased salary cap of around $5.2 million for 25 players is significantly more than Super Rugby’s fiscal limitations.

    But if Folau is to remain in Sydney, take on the challenge of a third football code and be remunerated handsomely, Waratahs fans can expect an overhaul of their squad at the end of 2013 to accommodate marquee man Folau.

    A winger or centre in rugby league, Folau would likely slot into the outside backs where the `Tahs already boast the likes of Wallabies Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, Berrick Barnes, Rob Horne and Lachie Turner while impressive youngsters Bernard Foley and Tom Kingston as well as stalwart Tom Carter also complicate selection.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • Roar Guru

      December 3rd 2012 @ 5:49pm
      PeterK said | December 3rd 2012 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

      easy to fit Folau since he is the tahs marquee signing and exempt from salary cap, other teams have signed their marquee player.

      • Roar Guru

        December 3rd 2012 @ 6:52pm
        Jiggles said | December 3rd 2012 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

        The Reds don’t have a marquee player, but that may be Cooper come February.

        It does seem he would walk away from the Eels deal for much less money…

        • December 3rd 2012 @ 11:53pm
          kingplaymaker said | December 3rd 2012 @ 11:53pm | ! Report

          Indeed Jiggles, and for far less than he could get in France or Japan. Which all suggests he is less of a mercenary than the league press claim, and that he has a genuine interest in playing rugby, which is equally unbelievable to the league press.

          • December 4th 2012 @ 5:19am
            mania said | December 4th 2012 @ 5:19am | ! Report

            his deal with the eels meant he started on a low amount for the 1st year then the next year when eels’d sorted out their finances his contract would jump considerably.
            folau is just sitting out the lean period of his contract with the tah’s then he’ll go back to the eels.
            izzy is a home boy and prefers to stay in sydney which is why he isnt entertaining overseas offers.

            dear ARU stop looking for your solution in the league ranks. its not going to work. learn to grow your own players.

            • Roar Guru

              December 4th 2012 @ 7:17am
              Shop said | December 4th 2012 @ 7:17am | ! Report

              To be fair Mania, he is one of many leagies that played rugby as a junior. Perhaps you should be scathing towards the ARU for letting him escape the net in the first place…?

              • December 4th 2012 @ 7:22am
                mania said | December 4th 2012 @ 7:22am | ! Report

                good point shop. yeah aru also need to look at how quality players like izzy end up at league.
                despite izzy having played as a junior tho i still expect him to go thru a huge learning curve. its just so diificult to keep up with all the changes in rugby. the game izzy played back at school will be so much different to the game thats played today.
                i’d like to know what level izzy achieved in rugby and the position(s) he played.

              • December 4th 2012 @ 12:45pm
                borris said | December 4th 2012 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

                I blame the ARU wholly and completely, even though the Waratahs are the ones signing him not the ARU, I still blame the ARU……

    • Roar Guru

      December 3rd 2012 @ 5:51pm
      PeterK said | December 3rd 2012 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

      the RL supporters tweeting mercenary is ironic. Their code was built on pillaging players from amateur rugby ie based on mercenary players.

      Now that they cant pay the most they resent the shoe being on the other foot.

    • December 3rd 2012 @ 8:10pm
      Selector said | December 3rd 2012 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

      Can’t stand listening to the whining that had been taking place from all the League experts, fans and coaches. They claim it to be the toughest sport in the world, but all is hear is whining everytime something doesn’t go their way.

      I am glad Folau has chosen to play rugby, I just hope the Tahs don’t waste that backline talent.

      My Tahs back line

      Ashley Cooper


    • December 3rd 2012 @ 10:56pm
      cm said | December 3rd 2012 @ 10:56pm | ! Report

      I beg to differ, Will. Of the “outside backs”
      you listed (presumably three-quarters and fullbacks), and asuming Folau takes to the game in year one:

      Mitchell and Turner must be close to retirement in 2014, AAC not far off, Carter’s not in that league, Foley and Barnes can flourish as inside backs, and Horne is yet to consistently dominate.

      Leaving only Kingston, who’s half Folau’s size.

      As I said, IF he adapts to the game, Folau MAY prove to be very valuable for the Tahs. Meantime, I bet he boosts the crowds.

    • December 3rd 2012 @ 11:54pm
      kingplaymaker said | December 3rd 2012 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

      Sour grapes from Hill!

      • December 4th 2012 @ 5:07pm
        Mals said | December 4th 2012 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

        What a joke, how can Hill whinge with any credibility…? The Rebels have had a massive leg up over the other 4 franchises in the form of their large foreign player quota, 10 imports. This leaves them with more money to play with when contracting Australian players.

    • December 4th 2012 @ 4:23am
      Johnno said | December 4th 2012 @ 4:23am | ! Report

      Let it go Damien Hill , think of the bigger picture mate. He is good for aussy rugby at a time rugby in OZ desperately needs more exposure . Izzy Folau appeals to many demographics, for multiple reasons, he is very marketable to many different demographics in aussy society . A win win for aussy rugby on every level, all he now needs to do is knuckle down to some hard rugby union specific training,, stay injury free, and learn the game, we want Izzy Folau in rugby a great day for the sport, welcome to top level rugby Izzy Folau , I hope you make the Wallabies.

      And the die in the wool league fans, are only truly having a go at Izzy coz they missed out in him coming back to rugby league, they are sad coz they really wanted him back, and feel humiliated and even insecure by rugby union signing such a star player. I think Izzy has gone to rugby coz he wants to be part of a rugby world cup and a lions series, and even potentially 7evens Olympics in 2016. The man is only 23, he will be 30 when 2019 world cup in Japan rolls on , in 7years time, so young Izzy still is. SBW is 27 so 4 years younger.

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