Folau plays down code-switch rumours
July 18, 2014
The Wallabies' Israel Folau is the highest-profile rugby player in Australia © Getty Images
Israel Folau has played down the significance of his meeting with the National Rugby League's head of football amid fears the fullback could be planning a code switch.
Folau shrugged off rumours surrounding his meeting with with Todd Greenberg on Wednesday, saying "it was his birthday ... I just wanted to have a coffee with him".
Folau was photographed with Greenberg and the player's manager, Isaac Moses, sparking speculation about a potential return to the 13-man game, but Folau said on Fox Sports' Rugby HQ on Thursday that "we didn't even talk about footy or anything".
"I know Toddy pretty well and I've done a lot of stuff with him in previous years obviously when I was playing rugby league," Folau said. "I just caught up with him, it was his birthday so you know I just wanted to have a coffee with him. There's a lot of footballers from different codes that come through that stadium and especially around that cafe area."
Folau's future is currently the subject of much speculation, with ESPN correspondent Greg Growden reporting that "high-ranking Waratahs sources have told ESPN's Ruck'n Maul that Toulon keep 'offering more and more money' … and there have been mumblings of an extraordinary three-year deal, worth well over $A1 million (£550,000) per season, that would make him easily the best-paid rugby player in the world".
"It will take enormous persuasion by both the Waratahs and the Australian Rugby Union to convince Folau to stay here," Growden reported.
Folau has said nothing about the approaches from France, but he admits there is interest from NRL clubs seeking to lure him back to the game in which he made his name.
"You can't lie about it, I think everyone knows there's a lot of interest from rugby league," Folau said on Rugby HQ. "And I've said it in the past before that I've still got one more year with the Waratahs to go and next year is a massive year for rugby - the World Cup is around the corner. I'm really enjoying my time playing rugby and to be honest I'm not even thinking about that time [2015 and beyond]. I'll look to that when that time comes, when I'm off contract."
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