Israel Folau believes the NSW Waratahs have the hunger and desire to win back-to-back premierships in what would be a first in the code-hopper’s storied career.
Despite the Waratahs labouring along mid-table entering the halfway point of the competition, Folau is of the firm belief the reigning Super Rugby champions are on track for a successful title defence.
If the Tahs could pull off a rare double and become Australia’s first franchise in 20 seasons of Super Rugby to defend their crown, the dual international would also achieve something he couldn’t manage in rugby league.
Manly foiled Folau and Melbourne’s attempt to win successive NRL grand finals in 2008, but the Wallabies ace senses the Waratahs have an edge that the Storm and other champion sides he’s been a part of maybe lacked.
“From what I’ve experienced in the past, teams that I’ve been involved in after winning a premiership, the second year seems as though a lot more players get a little bit more complacent,” Folau said on Tuesday.
“Within this group now, I don’t see any of those signs, which is great thing for the team.”
While Folau’s future beyond 2015 remains uncertain, there’s no doubting the drive he has to help deliver the Waratahs another championship.
“The most satisfying thing is, once you win a premiership or something like that, you want to try and stay on top, not just do it the one time,” he said.
“That’s probably an even bigger challenge than winning it the first time and that’s the hunger that I think this group has and we want to strive to achieve that.”
There is growing speculation Folau will soon sign a lucrative contract to play in Japan next season, but Waratahs and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika remains hopeful the 26-year-old will also recommit to Australian rugby.
Folau on Tuesday showed no signs of a man wanting out after this year’s Rugby World Cup, endorsing NSW’s attack coach Daryl Gibson as the right choice as the Waratahs’ replacement for Cheika and crediting the former All Blacks centre for playing a key role in his successful transition to rugby.
“I’m really enjoying the team feel within this whole club,” he said.
“It’s great news for the club that Daryl’s gone on to take on the head role here next year.
“He’s helped me a lot, especially in attack with different variations in my game and mixing things up.
After enjoying an Easter weekend bye, the eighth-placed Waratahs resume their title push against the ninth-placed Stormers at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.