Folau set to bring up milestone against Scotland
RUGBY UNION: Israel Folau the AFL player is a distant memory; Israel Folau the NRL player seems like a lifetime ago.
Still only 27, the supreme athlete that has been coveted by three football codes will make his 50th appearance for the Wallabies this weekend.
He will reach the milestone in the second-least amount of time for an Australian, with only Michael Hooper getting there quicker.
When he takes the field against Scotland on Sunday (12.30am AEST), it will have been three years, four months and 21 days since Folau made his debut against the Lions - Hooper edges him by 24 hours.
"It's gone so quick ... the journey has been great. I didn't expect to play for the Wallabies when I started my career let alone get to wear the jersey 50 times,” Folau said.
"I will enjoy the week, take it one day at a time, soak it all in and enjoy it with the guys around me.”
A career at the elite level began almost 10 years ago when he burst on to the scene as a 17-year-old for the Melbourne Storm, scoring a try on debut.
He would finish the regular season with 21 of them to be the equal top try scorer for 2007 alongside North Queensland Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen.
In doing so he would beat teammate Billy Slater's previous NRL record of most tries in a debut season.
After a two-year stint with the Brisbane Broncos, he shocked the competition by switching codes - for the first time - signing with the fledgling GWS Giants in the AFL.
Considered a failure on the field - albeit a mild success of it in marketing the new club in Sydney's west - he played just eight games, averaging three kicks a match, and kicked two goals as a forward.
At the end of 2012 he inked a deal to join the NSW Waratahs, and it's been full steam ahead.
While he showed glimpses of his best form when running for a game-high 156m in the win over Wales last week - breaking lines and offloading at one stage to set up Reece Hodge to score - Folau is currently on an eight-match try-scoring drought.
His last came against England in June.
"The tries are probably a bonus for me,” Folau said. "It's always good when you cross the try line for a meat pie, but the focus is always about the team.
"I thought the guys really played well so I was happy with how I contributed to the team.”
Folau said the Wallabies weren't getting carried away with their win over Wales and were wary of the Scots, who they will meet in the second match of their Spring Tour at Murrayfield.
"The thing about Scotland, what I've seen from the past or experienced for myself is that they're a team that is always in there for the whole 80 minutes,” he said.
"They're going to be there physically and they've got some really great players in their side.
"I think our focus, like every other week, is always about us as a team and going out there to try and execute the things that we've worked on during the week.”