Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'

Israel Folau (Getty Images)
Israel Folau (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Former Wales fullback Lee Byrne believes that Australian fullback Israel Folau is a "freak" and that he will be a key factor in Saturday's crucial World Cup Pool A clash between the sides. 

Byrne posted a video to his Twitter account in which he raised concerns over Warren Gatland's selection of 24-year-old Gareth Anscombe at fullback. 

Anscombe does have southern hemisphere experience after his time with the Chiefs and the Blues in Super Rugby, but Byrne is concerned over his lack of game time in 2015. 

"I’m surprised with (Gareth) Anscombe coming straight in at 15. He hasn’t really played much Test rugby or domestically this season," said Byrne, who was capped 46 times by Wales and once by the British and Irish Lions.

"It’s going to be a big stage for him and hopefully he’ll come through with flying colours.

"He’s coming up against one of the best 15s in world rugby in Israel Folau. The guy is just a freak. He’s played nearly every sport in Australia and he’s just a phenomenal athelete. He’s going to be a real danger so we have to be careful with him."

Byrne stopped short of predicting a winner, but he believes the match will be a close affair.

"I’m not going to say whose going to be the winner but I’m going to predict a score line of 26-20. I’m hoping it’s going to be Wales but it’s going to be too close to call," he said.

There had been concerns on Friday that an ankle injury might rule Folau out of Saturday's clash, but the fullback has confirmed that he is fit and ready to go. 

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:45. 



15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Sean McMahon, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio

Subtitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale


15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Warburton (capt), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Paul James

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Tom Francis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 James Hook

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