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McKenzie plots to bring Folau down to earth

"They've made an investment there and they will want to use him" ... Ewen McKenzie.

"They've made an investment there and they will want to use him" ... Ewen McKenzie. Photo: Getty Images

THE Queensland Reds have two trials and an away trip to Canberra before their Super Rugby path leads to the Waratahs but Ewen McKenzie has already started formulating plans to help counter NSW signing Israel Folau.

Folau's aborted attempt at becoming an AFL player has led to him moving to code No.3. He will try to find his legs in rugby union following stints with the NRL's Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos and AFL's GWS Giants.

Tall, strong, fast and athletic, Folau has all of the ingredients to be a handful on the rugby field and in rugby league was a proven finisher, scoring a remarkable 73 tries in four seasons. During his two years at Red Hill, he scored a ridiculous 37 tries in 38 games.

Part of his talent was an ability in the air that took the attacking cross-kick to a new level in league. At his best, Folau seemed unstoppable on the wing when a ball was floated in his direction.

To what extent the Waratahs utilise that tactic remains to be seen but McKenzie, never a man inclined to skimp on research, has already started to consider the options to help keep Folau grounded.

He said he had been keeping tabs on the Waratahs during the pre-season or, more to the point, they had been doing a fine job of communicating the goings-on in Sydney.

He expected NSW to find a way to employ Folau's talents.

''I've been reading about the Tahs every day,'' McKenzie said. ''They've been keeping us well informed. We know well and truly what they are up to. They'll find a way to use him. It will be interesting to see if he appears in their first official game. He's a good player. I'm sure he'll be there or thereabouts.''

Folau's dominance in the air came to be a feature of his rugby league play but the rules of the game helped provide a glut of opportunities, the likes of which he might not enjoy in rugby union.

League's six-tackle rule meant if the Broncos or Storm were in range to launch a cross-kick on the fifth tackle, sending it in Folau's direction was a no-brainer play that often turned into four points. Union's focus on retaining the ball and building pressure means it is a riskier move to kick the ball away early. If it fails, the defending side can get out of its 20-metre zone without conceding points.

McKenzie will be thinking all of that through and watching Folau and the Tahs during trial games, presuming he plays, to see how the hulking outside-back is employed.

''We'll have a look at the trial games and see where he goes. You expect they've made an investment there and they will want to use him.''

The Reds will enter the trials with all of their players available bar Wallabies halfback Will Genia, who continues his rehabilitation from a knee reconstruction.

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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
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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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