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All Blacks great inspiring Folau to greatness
ESPN Staff
February 17, 2014
The Waratahs' Israel Folau runs the ball against the Force, New South Wales Waratahs v Western Force, Super Rugby, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, March 31, 2013
Israel Folau has added ten Test tries to playing career in his debut season in rugby © Getty Images

All Blacks great Jonah Lomu has been imparting tips and advice to help improve upon Wallaby star debutant Israel Folau's first year in the green and gold. Dual code international Folau, who went from Super Rugby debutant to Wallabies fixture with 10 tries in 2013, is readying for his second season with the Tahs.

"I spoke to Jonah a few weeks ago," Folau told the Daily Telegraph. "We talk every now and then, and I feel very lucky to have a legend of the game as a mentor. It's an attitude thing, he said. Normal human reaction for when everything is going well, you relax a bit. You're happy so you cruise.

"He says it's now about attitude, and you wanting to do that [succesful season] from year to year, and to take your game to the next level. That's a challenge in itself, after the success I had last year. But obviously it was my first, so I am a lot more hungry to improve my game. And I know I can."

Folau's confidence will put the smile back on the face of the embattled Australian Rugby Union, who have recently announced that most of the five Australian franchises are struggling financially. Australian rugby's pin up boy, the 24 year-old will be sure to feature front and centre when the ARU ramp up promotional efforts for the Test series against France in June.

At a young age Folau has jam packed his playing career, boasting three football codes, including Premiership and State of Origin wins. However, even with these accolades, the star still remains humble.

"One of the great things about him is that he hasn't changed," Cheika said. "He is the same guy. He is the same personality. He is such a popular sportsman but he is so humble, he's down to earth. He's grounded, and well prepared. That's why I like him so much.

"He made big leaps on the northern hemisphere tour. He went up another level there, and those experiences are only going to help him this year."

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis is another fan, who believes the star can only go further with his playing abilities.

"Just generally there is a bit of a switch for Izzy that's gone "there's a really good opportunity for me every time I get the ball to do something special"," Dennis says. "He really understands the game a lot better, so there's a unique confidence there. He is a great athlete, and he knows his strengths. He knows he is a good player. He is humble, but he knows he's good.

"But best of all, he knows he can get better."

Russell Barwick and Greg Growden discuss the season ahead
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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