Israel Folau wants an opportunity at winning Olympic gold. Picture: Getty
Israel Folau wants an opportunity at winning Olympic gold. Picture: Getty

Folau reveals his Tokyo Olympics quest

Wallabies superstar Israel Folau is mulling over the idea of making himself available to represent Australia in Rugby Sevens at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

In an exclusive interview, Folau told The Daily Telegraph the chance of competing in the biggest multi-sports event in the world was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would be too good to resist.

"It's definitely something that I wouldn't shut down ­because the Olympics is something that's very special," he said.

"It's a huge event that everyone in the world watches and it's great that the game of rugby is able to be a part of it through the game of sevens.

"I'd definitely want to put my hand up to see if that ­opportunity (arose)."

Whether playing rugby league or rugby union, Folau has always had the Midas touch and possesses the physical and tactical attributes that would ensure he was a force in the abbreviated ­version of the game.

With the Australian men's sevens team languishing in sixth place on the World ­Series standings, there's no doubt head coach Tim Walsh, who coached the women's team to win the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, would leap at the chance to add one of the sport's most prolific tryscorers to his roster and give his men's side a real shot at the game's biggest prize.

Folau's magnetic appeal would also generate massive publicity for the Olympic ­sevens tournament and thrust him into the global spotlight like never before.


Folau has played for three codes. Picture: Brett Costello
Folau has played for three codes. Picture: Brett Costello


He would have the chance to rub shoulders with LeBron James, ­Serena Williams and our own Cate Campbell.

"If I could take that opportunity, I'm sure it'd be something to cherish and remember for the rest of your life," he said.

"There's no doubt the experience would be unreal. You're basically on the world stage in your chosen sport and that's unbelievable. You grow up watching the Olympics and to be a part of that would be something special to put next to your name."

Folau still hasn't discussed the possibility of making himself available and would need approval from Rugby Australia and the Waratahs.

With the Olympics scheduled to take place in July and August next year, he could wait until after this year's World Cup before making a decision and still have enough time to make the transition.

Australia's Test schedule for 2020 still hasn't been finalised because of ongoing talks about setting up a new global league, so the impact on the Wallabies would be minimal.

The only real sticking point would be his availability for the Waratahs.

Ideally, Walsh wants all squad players available for the entire 10 rounds of the Sevens World Series, which normally runs from late ­November until June.

That would effectively rule Folau out of the 2020 Super Rugby season unless a compromise was reached where he split his time between Sevens and Super Rugby or just parachute in for the Olympics, if Australia qualify.

Folau could even test the waters by playing in the first four rounds of next season's Sevens World Series, which will be held in summer.