Chiefs sought to sign Israel Folau
January 30, 2014
Israel Folau would not have been eligible for New Zealand for three years had he crossed the Tasman © Getty Images
The Chiefs wanted to sign Israel Folau in 2012, when coach Dave Rennie and assistant Wayne Smith met the player in Sydney and investigated his eligibility for the All Blacks.
Rennie and Smith travelled to Sydney to talk to Folau in August 2012, four months before the player announced he had signed with New South Wales Waratahs, because "we just heard a whisper that he was maybe looking to get out of Aussie rules and looking to have a go at rugby".
"We went over to have a chat to him in and around one of the Bledisloe Cup games [in Sydney," Rennie told Fairfax Media in New Zealand. "He's a good man and a hell of an athlete. We would have loved to have brought him over."
Rennie said he thought that Folau was interested in moving to New Zealand but the player's lack of direct eligibility for the All Blacks scuppered the potential for a deal.
"For him to come here [New Zealand] and be eligible for the All Blacks immediately, he needed to have some sort of parentage lines," Rennie told Fairfax Media. "And he didn't have that. He would have had to wait three years before he could play [under International Rugby Board regulations], from a residential point of view, so it was probably never going to happen."
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