Folau commits future to Aussie rugby
The worst-kept secret in Australian rugby is out with Israel Folau finally confirming he will stick with the Wallabies and the Waratahs for another four years.
There was never really any doubt he would after the 29-year-old let it be known he was intending to stay put after months of speculation that he might leave, but it's still taken longer than expected for him to put pen to paper.
Now, just a week before the start of the Super Rugby season, it's official with Folau signing an extension through to the end of the 2022 season.
"It is great to see him make a long-term commitment to the Wallabies and Waratahs and I know that he's still very keen to become an even better player in that time, as well as achieve success with the Wallabies," Australian head coach Michael Cheika said.
"Israel's contribution to the Wallabies since making the switch shows why he's one of the best players in the world.
"I'm sure he is ready to kick off his new adventure in Rugby with a huge year in 2019 - he trained hard at the national camp in early January and you can see he is ready for a big one."
Folau has had a bumpy ride over the last 12 months, slammed for his homophobic comments on social media, then copping a lot of the blame for Australia's embarrassing loss at home to Argentina.
At his best, whether at fullback or wing, he remains the most exciting and dangerous attacker in Australian rugby so is pivotal to both the Wallabies' chances of winning this year's World Cup and the Waratahs' prospects in Super Rugby.
"The World Cup is a big target of mine this year and I believe this Wallabies group can go a long way if we keep on improving. Im looking forward to working hard and doing whatever I can to help the team achieve what we want to achieve both this year and into the future," he said.
"I've also been very fortunate to win a title with the Waratahs in 2014 and looking at the squad right now with some of the young players we've got coming through, the future is very bright and I want to be a part of that."