Israel Folau's desire to win a Super Rugby championship kept him in blue.
Israel Folau's desire to win a Super Rugby championship kept him in blue.

Brutal reason why Folau rejected Reds

ISRAEL Folau has revealed the real reason he turned down a tempting offer to return to Queensland, opting instead to re-sign with the Waratahs.

And while his answer will be music to the ears of all Waratahs fans, it's not the response Reds supporters will want to hear.

There's no doubt Folau could have made a lot more money if he'd left the Waratahs but in the end, the chance to earn a bit of extra cash played no part in his decision.

As a man of faith, Folau has always been driven by his convictions and it was his strong belief that the Waratahs have a better chance of winning the Super Rugby title than the Reds that proved decisive.

"I had a look at maybe going to the Reds because I do have family there and my wife's family have also moved there but in the end, from a family point of view with me and my wife, we're comfortable being in Sydney," Folau told Rugby Central.

"And in terms of rugby, I felt like we have a special group here at the Waratahs where we could achieve a lot of things and I wanted to be a part of it.

Israel Folau flies over Jayden Ngamanu at Suncorp Stadium. Picture: AAP
Israel Folau flies over Jayden Ngamanu at Suncorp Stadium. Picture: AAP

"I'm very happy with the decision I've made."

The Reds sluggish start to the new season is all the proof Folau needs to see that he made the right call. They are the only Australian team not to have chalked up a win yet and are at long odds to upset the Waratahs when they lock horns at the SCG on Saturday night.

Folau still has a soft spot for his old state. He went to high school in Brisbane and spent two seasons with the Broncos and represented Queensland in State of Origin.

But after six seasons with the Waratahs, and another four to come after he re-signed through to 2022, there's no doubting his allegiances now.

"Playing for Queensland through State of Origin is something that was special and it's instilled in you that once you pull on that jersey you just wanted to bury the opposition in New South Wales," Folau said.

"When I first came onto the scene here I always wondered how it would feel before I actually played against the Reds but to be quite honest it doesn't really feel that different at all."

Folau’s famous Origin try. Picture: Peter Wallis
Folau’s famous Origin try. Picture: Peter Wallis

Folau's worth to the Waratahs is priceless and at 29, he's playing as well as ever.

He scored twice in NSW's win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo two weeks ago to overtake Joe Roff as Australia's highest tryscorer in Super Rugby with 58 touchdowns.

That's left him just one short of the all-time record of 59 tries, held by former All Black Doug Howlett, which he could well break against the Reds this weekend.

"I definitely don't set any goals to break records," Folau said.

"All I try to do is do my best for the team so it's just a bonus you're lucky enough to achieve any milestones because it's not possible without the team."

Israel Folau has terrorised the Reds as a Waratah. Picture: Getty
Israel Folau has terrorised the Reds as a Waratah. Picture: Getty

More than anything, Folau just wants the Waratahs need to win this weekend. It's still early days but they haven't hit their straps yet but nothing will give them a bigger lift than beating their oldest rivals.

"The thing about the Reds, they'll be disappointed with their season but I'm sure they'll be hungry coming out to play against us," he said.

"We're playing at about 60%, which is a positive thing because there's a lot of areas in our game that we can fix up real quick to get to that next level.

"The potential in this group is huge but in saying that we've still got to go out there and deliver the performances that we know we can do."