Izzy moving? No chance, says Cheika

Reckon Israel Folau would be better at outside centre instead of fullback for the Wallabies? Good luck convincing Michael Cheika.

No, seriously – he wants to hear it.

Folau won’t be making the positional switch for Australia that took his game to the next level in Super Rugby until someone can show Cheika why it’s worth doing.

Cheika has again named his attacking trump at No.15 for Saturday’s Test against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium.

Headstrong at the best of times, it appears unlikely the coach will change his tact anytime soon, insisting Folau provides more to the team as custodian.

Statistics from the first two rounds of the Rugby Championship back his claim – he is the only Australian player in the top 10 for carries, metres gained and defenders beaten.

On the rare occasion a player in a gold jersey has threatened over the last six Test defeats, it’s usually had something to do with Folau.

“I’m not going to explain my rationale until I hear the rationale why he would play better closer in,” Cheika said.

“I’ve coached the player since he’s been in rugby and I think I’ve got a pretty good rapport with him and know exactly where his strengths are.

“(If) we get the ball to him with the opportunities in those spaces and he’ll deliver.

“I could bring him in closer and he could get more touches but will be deliver more excellence in there? That’s the question.”

Folau himself has declared his personal preference would be to play at No.13 for the Wallabies but is willing to do whatever Cheika asks of him.

Former Wallaby Rod Kafer believes he has the skills and footwork to become a world-class inside centre as well.

For this weekend at least, Australia’s centre pairing will be Bernard Foley and Samu Kerevi.

Foley played alongside five-eighth Quade Cooper for the first time in last month’s Bledisloe Cup defeat in Wellington, serving as a second playmaker in a system Cheika seems wedded to, even if it got off to a patchy start.

“The more time they spend together the better off they’ll be,” he said.

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