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Finegan: Folau to bring the X-factor

Israel Folau has signed a 1 year deal with the NSW Waratahs.

Israel Folau has signed a 1 year deal with the NSW Waratahs. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Wallabies great Owen Finegan has urged rugby to embrace Israel Folau even if he uses the sport as a stopgap mercenary dash to make a return to the NRL in 2014.

And while Folau's multimillion-dollar stint in the AFL with the GWS Giants was a disaster, Finegan is convinced the powerful winger can be one of the best rugby league converts to join Super Rugby.

Folau controversially signed a one-year deal to play rugby union with the NSW Waratahs on Tuesday.

It will be the third football code Folau has played in the past four years, after starting his career in the NRL and then taking up a $6 million deal with the Giants before quitting AFL last month.

While Folau is already being linked to a return to rugby league in 2014, Finegan - who played 55 Tests for the Wallabies - was unequivocal when asked what impact the 23-year-old would have on Super Rugby.

''A big name like that brings a lot of publicity,'' Finegan said. ''It's the same as Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and Mat Rogers when they came across - Folau is as good as any one of them.

''Just look at the success Joe Tomane had [for the ACT Brumbies] last season … it doesn't seem like it's a money-grabbing thing to me.

''Maybe he was fed up with the NRL and you'd think being an outside back for rugby union, he's been at the pinnacle, has the X-factor and every team would love to get a hold of that.''

The Brumbies took a gamble on recruiting Tomane - a former Melbourne Storm and Gold Coast Titans centre - last year.

Although the now 22-year-old Tomane was a schoolboy rugby star, he admitted it took him time to find his feet at the Brumbies.

When he found his form, he showed how devastating he could be and was rewarded with his first Test cap against Scotland in June.

Finegan has backed Folau to make an impressive rise through the rugby ranks when his first season begins.

It's understood Folau has not received an ARU ''top-up'' with his Waratahs contract, but if he plays well enough he could be in contention for a Wallabies call-up for the mid-year series against the British and Irish Lions.

Former Brumbies assistant coach Marco Caputo insisted Folau had the attributes to be a star.

''This is a good way to put himself in the shop window if he wants to go to Europe and play in places like France and England,'' Caputo, an ex-Wallabies hooker, said.

''He's giving himself a year and if he likes it in rugby, it will present other opportunities down the track.

''Folau has all those things you can't coach in players … that freakish ability.

''I think he'll do well, whether he signed for the Sydney Kings [in NBL] or whatever, he's got the talent to do well in whatever he tries.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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