Wallabies and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau says he feels fine physically despite a gruelling schedule after emerging from a rare form lull in spectacular fashion.
Folau ended a recent try drought by scoring three for the Waratahs against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend following an uncharacteristically poor performance in the loss to the Lions in Johannesburg a week earlier.
“I was pretty disappointed after the Lions game. I felt like I let myself and the team down and I wanted to try and turn things around,” Folau said at Sydney Airport on Monday.
“The team performance was great. I was just lucky enough to feed off that energy.”
Waratahs and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wasn’t concerned about the brief form dip for Folau, who rarely gets substituted or injured and has played pretty much every minute of the Waratahs’ 2015 campaign.
“He’s been playing non-stop since he arrived to rugby so we’re certainly not going to get down on him for maybe not hitting his straps the week before,” Cheika said.
Folau believed staying sharp was more of a psychological issue in his case.
“My body feels pretty good at the moment even though I’ve been playing a lot of footy,” Folau said.
“It’s more trying to make sure you’re mentally rested at times and that will get your body refreshed, when you’re fresh upstairs.”
Folau also threw the final pass for two tries in Bloemfontein and felt his form on the weekend was as good at any other time this year.
“I’ve been happy with my overall game all year, I’ve been contributing to the team,” Folau said.
He said there was no injury issues with his right leg after he was tripped by Cheetahs back Rayno Benjamin in the lead up to his third try.
Ironically it was Folau who seemed more contrite than Benjamin following the incident.
“It (the trip) didn’t do any damage. I was a bit upset at the time but it’s all done and dusted now,” Folau said.
“I didn’t say anything (to Benjamin about the trip). I actually said sorry to him for blowing up at him after I scored the try.
“I felt really bad after that, but besides that we left it on the field.”
Cheika will regain the services of two Test forwards for Saturday’s home clash with lowly-placed Queensland.
Lock Will Skelton returns from suspension and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau from a bout of concussion.
A bonus-point victory would guarantee the Waratahs top spot in the conference, a week off and a home semi-final.