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Folau to join Waratahs

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Israel Folau, right, has signed a one-year contract with Super Rugby's Waratahs

Israel Folau, right, has signed a one-year contract with Super Rugby's Waratahs

Israel Folau, right, has signed a one-year contract with Super Rugby's Waratahs

Israel Folau's second code switch in three years is complete with confirmation he will line up for the Waratahs in Super Rugby next season.

After the 23-year-old played 90 games in the NRL for the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos between 2007-2010, he spent two ill-fated years with Aussie rules expansion club Greater Western Sydney. Folau unsurprisingly quit the Giants last month halfway through his four-year deal.

He will now ply his trade on the rugby field after agreeing to a one-year contract with Super Rugby's New South Wales outfit. "I'm really excited by this opportunity and looking forward to having a crack at union," Folau said.

He went on: "When I first met (coach) Michael (Cheika) I liked his personality as a person and a coach. We talked about what he wants to do with the team, the style of rugby he wants to play and the quality of the squad that he has, with all the Wallabies guys. That's what got me interested.

"There were a number of factors in my decision to join the NSW Waratahs. I left GWS because I didn't have the passion for the game but because of the timings, I didn't know if I'd get anything.

"I said right from the start that I was keeping my options open because I knew it would be hard for rugby league to accommodate me. I'm excited to be staying in Sydney and absolutely very happy with the way things have worked out."

Cheika said Folau ticked all the boxes as a marquee signing for the Waratahs.

"Since I started, we've been discussing the option of a marquee player who could really add something to our squad and the strength we already have to develop from within NSW," he said.

"When the opportunity came up with Israel, who's a local, and what he could bring in this short space of time, our needs met.

"He is the perfect fit for us. He's a quality person. In the three or four times we've discussed rugby, he's shown me that his character is A1 and he'll fit exactly into the values we have here. I really liked the fact that he's a family guy and someone that just wants to do the best for those close to him."

PA