Israel Folau of Australia during the Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand at Eden Park.
Israel Folau of Australia during the Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand at Eden Park. DAVID ROWLAND

Cheika won't rule out Folau switch

RUGBY: Coach Michael Cheika is open to moving Israel Folau from fullback to fill a hole at outside centre for the Wallabies' clash with Wales on Sunday morning (12.30am AEST).

Folau slotted into the position once Samu Kerevi was substituted during the Wallabies' last-start loss to the All Blacks due to an ankle injury.

Cheika has the option of leaving Folau in the No.13 jersey and using Dane Haylett-Petty or Tevita Kuridrani at fullback when the Wallabies kick off their Spring Tour at Millennium Stadium.

"There's a possibility of (switching Folau to centre). We've used him up there before in different times even though he's wearing 15,” Cheika said after flying into England following shoulder surgery.

"Then you've got Kuridrani, who is well and truly experienced in that position too.

"We've got a few options there. We'll see how the training week pans out and try a few different options today and tomorrow.”

Folau has now gone seven Tests without crossing the tryline, which is the longest drought of his 48-Test career.

"When you can diffuse the high ball like he can and you can counter-attack like he can, I think those skills are always there,” Cheika said.

"Last week we played him up in the front line a bit as a different type of threat and we could pull him back and do something different this week.

"The thing is it's not about 'what's his best position' it's about how he can play his best every game.

"For us and the style we play, once you get out of the set piece we've got some very clear roles and no matter whether he was playing 13 or 15, his role would be the same after that anyway.”

Wales skipper Sam Warburton, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the clash due to a neck injury.


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