WELLINGTON: Blues Super Rugby coach John Kirwan admits he unsuccessfully pursued high-profile Australian code-hopper Israel Folau.
Former Australian and Queensland rugby league back Folau is poised to return to the 13-man code after walking out on the final two years of a lucrative AFL contract with the Greater Western Sydney club.
Kirwan said he left an expression of interest with Folau's agent, believing the 23-year-old had potential similar to that of Sonny Bill Williams, who has forged a career in rugby league, rugby union and boxing.
"I didn't hear back so I took that as a no," Kirwan told The New Zealand Herald.
"From what I've heard, he's a talented player. A bit like Sonny Bill, it might take him a while to get used to things but it would be worth the wait."
The newspaper reported that Super Rugby champions the Chiefs also pursued Folau.
Kirwan came up short in advances to former All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina, who has decided to stay in Japanese club rugby.