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Now new Waratah sets his sights on the Lions

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Brad Walter

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Folau signs with the Waratahs

Israel Folau speaks to the media about his excitement in regards to signing with the NSW Waratahs.

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ISRAEL FOLAU hasn't played rugby union since high school but the 23-year-old Waratahs recruit has set himself the goal of playing for the Wallabies against the touring British Lions next season.

''A British Lions tour doesn't come around very often, so when it does it is a massive occasion, and for me, if I am involved in playing those games, it would be exciting,'' Folau said.

''It is definitely at the top of the list to want to play for your country but that comes afterwards, because I want to focus on playing good footy for the Waratahs first.''

Israel Folau … ''A British Lions tour doesn't come around very often.''

Israel Folau … ''A British Lions tour doesn't come around very often.'' Photo: Anthony Johnson

If he does, Folau would become a dual international after representing Australia in league. It was footage of him playing State of Origin and for the Kangaroos that convinced Waratahs coach Michael Cheika he was the x-factor the team needs.

Still struggling to believe his luck after being approached three weeks ago when Folau was beginning to fear a deal with Parramatta would not eventuate, Cheika said the 23-year-old was likely to play fullback for the Waratahs next season.

''It sort of just happened by accident,'' Cheika said. ''I met him and got to speak to him a bit more about rugby in a bit more detail, and that was probably about the time things were starting to stall with Parramatta.

''We had one contract left [on the 2013 roster] so I had to make sure it was the right person and right addition to the team. This was all about making sure we had a player with x-factor and someone who could be a game breaker, and I felt he had the capability [to do] that.''

Cheika said he spoke with Folau four times and they discussed the Wallabies performances in Europe, while the coach also watched footage of the former Queensland and Australian winger in action before he switched to AFL two years ago.

''We started talking about who was doing what and I think he got a taste for it. Negotiations were pretty easy,'' Cheika said. ''There is no way I would bring someone into the group if he did not have the same values. I hadn't seen a lot of him because I was away [coaching in Europe] when he came on the scene and was successful in rugby league, so I dusted off a few tapes and he looked really good.''

While Folau doesn't start training with the Waratahs until Thursday, he believes adapting to the new code will be easier than AFL.

''I guess you could say rugby league and rugby union are similar games, whereas you can't compare it to AFL, which is a totally different game, so I would like to think the transition won't take as long as it did with the AFL,'' he said.

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Folau signs with the Waratahs (Thumbnail) Folau signs with the Waratahs

Israel Folau speaks to the media about his excitement in regards to signing with the NSW Waratahs.

Sheedy backs Folau to make big impression

Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy has described Israel Folau as ''one of the most honest people I've dealt with'' and harbours no ill feeling towards the serial code-hopper.

Finegan: Folau to bring the X-factor

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.

Schubert's wrong price tag drove Folau to Tahs

IF NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert had initially determined Israel Folau's value at $250,000 he almost certainly would have posing for photos in an Eels jersey on Tuesday rather than a Waratahs one.

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LONDON: Robbie Deans says he wants to continue as Australian coach beyond the end of next year and believes the Wallabies are ''just getting started'' as a group.

No ill will from Sheedy towards former disciple

GREATER Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy has described Israel Folau as ''one of the most honest people I've dealt with'' and harbours no ill feeling towards the serial code-hopper.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
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SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
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ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
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IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
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WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
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SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
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ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
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CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
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ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
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NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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