Israel Folau: I might stick with rugby union

DARREN WALTON
Last updated 20:34 20/05/2013
Israel Folau
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CODE SHIFTER: Israel Folau has made the Wallabies' squad to take on the British and Irish Lions.

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Israel Folau says his call-up to the Wallabies squad for the British and Irish Lions test series could convince him to stay with rugby union.

The former Kangaroo is off contract at the end of the season and is reportedly being chased by a number of NRL clubs, including Canterbury, in a bid to lure him back to rugby league.

The Brumbies' South African coach Jake White claimed Folau should have had to commit long term to rugby before being chosen for Australia. 

Folau's Melbourne grand final-winning mentor Craig Bellamy has said the Waratahs fullback would be a lot more excited about staying in rugby if he was picked for Australia.

The man himself admitted to surprise at his selection in coach Robbie Deans' 25-man squad for the Lions series and said the move could entice him to stay with the code.

''It could definitely come into the decision when I make it and  that will be hopefully soon,'' Folau said.

''They have shown some faith in me and hopefully I can pay that back by playing some good rugby.

''I'm happy with my form and the way things are going. I'm still obviously learning each week as we go and I'm trying to take as much as I can from each session, and improve with each game.''

Folau's Waratahs teammates Berrick Barnes and Wycliff Palu said they believed the recognition Folau had received in being selected by Deans would keep him in the game.

''You would hope so,'' Barnes said.

''I think he is just happy (in rugby). I haven't been able to wipe the smile off his face. But at the end of the day, he has to  make the best decision for him and his family.''

Palu said: ''I think it is going to be a big experience and, if  you are a part of it and it goes well, it will add to him hanging  around.

''But Izzy is his own man and he will make the decision that is best for him.''

Folau said he was still coming to terms with his selection in the Wallabies squad.

''It's all a bit surreal,'' he said.

''When I got that call (from Deans), I just froze. I'm on a high still.

''It's very exciting for me and my family and I'm just stoked to be a part of it."

Folau said he still had a lot of work to do to force his way into the Wallabies starting line-up for the first Test in Brisbane on June 22.

''I'm not guaranteed a starting position and so I just have to try and play consistent rugby until we get into camp,'' he said.

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''I'm always confident in myself but I still have a lot to work  on to try and get into the starting line-up.

''Being a part of this big campaign is certainly very exciting.''

- AAP

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