Former Wallaby Israel Folau could make a return to international rugby and play in the next World Cup.
Israel Folau has given a recent update to the media on his intentions on returning to international rugby.
Israel Folau earned 73 caps for Australia, making his debut during the 2013 Lions test series. Folau earned 73 caps over the course of a 6 year period, the last coming in 2019.
Folau was a rugby league star where he started his career with the Melbourne Storm in the NRL. He made a name for himself with the Brisbane Broncos after he signed with them in 2009. Before jumping to rugby union with Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs, Folau had a brief stint in Australian Rules playing for Greater Western Sydney.
Folau, since joining the Waratahs, became considered by many as one of the best fullbacks in the world. However in 2019 his contract with the Australian Rugby Union was terminated for breach of code of conduct.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 23, 2022
Following a stint back in rugby league with the Catalan Dragon in the Super League, Folau returned to union this year, playing in Japan in Japan League One.
While speaking to the media, Folau said “It would be a huge honour if I got the opportunity. We’ll see if that opportunity comes about but I’d love to put the Tongan jersey on and represent Tonga.”
In November of last year, World Rugby approved a significant adjustment to its international eligibility criteria. If a player has not been selected for their national team in at least three years and has a parent or grandparent born in the country they wish to represent, they can now swap teams. Israel Folau meets the criteria and is eligible to play for Tonga.
Folau said that he has “no regrets about anything but it’s led me here to Japan and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Folau could feature for Tonga at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France next September should he be picked and Tonga qualify. If Tonga do qualify, it is likely they will join Pool B alongside Ireland, South Africa, Scotland and Spain.