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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 July 2018

Israel Folau demands kicking accuracy from Wallabies in Ireland decider

Australia full-back is try-less in the first two Tests before decider in Sydney on Saturday

Ireland's management of Australia full-back Israel Folau has kept him try-less in the first two Tests, but the Australian back is hungry to end the drought. Getty
Ireland's management of Australia full-back Israel Folau has kept him try-less in the first two Tests, but the Australian back is hungry to end the drought. Getty

Australia full-back Israel Folau has demanded accuracy from his side's kickers to help him be more effective in Saturday's three-Test series decider against Ireland in Sydney.

Folau has so far been unable to replicate his formidable NSW Waratahs form in the air during the first two Tests, partly because of what the hosts deem to be Ireland's blocking tactics.

The Wallabies are considering lodging a complaint with match officials concerning the tourists' approach, but Folau, 29, is not overly worried.

"Obviously, I didn't get many touches on the weekend [as Ireland won 26-21], so hopefully I get a few more opportunities to get my hands on the ball as much as I can and just play some footy," Folau told Australian Associated Press on Tuesday.

"I put it down to the execution on our kicks. It wasn't where we wanted to place them [in Melbourne].

"They were a little bit further than we'd liked and a bit more infield, which makes it a lot easier for their guys to escort.

"In saying that, they did a great job with their escorting, but hopefully our execution on our kicks can be a little bit better where it can give us a free run and a jump at the ball."

The Six Nations champions' management of Folau has kept him try-less, but the Australian back is hungry to end the drought.

"It's something that I don't look to do going into the game, but if I find myself crossing the line for a try, it's always a great bonus," he said.

"The most exciting thing for this weekend is just trying to find my hands on the ball and providing those opportunities.

"The last couple of weeks hasn't been going that way, so I'm pretty hungry and eager to try and put myself in the game to get as many touches as I can."

Billy Vunipola (with the ball) has returned home after re-fracturing the arm that was broken in January and faces another extended spell on the sidelines. Christiaan Kotze / AP Photo
Billy Vunipola (with the ball) has returned home after re-fracturing the arm that was broken in January and faces another extended spell on the sidelines. AP

Vunipola a big loss for England: Vermeulen

South Africa have sought to keep their foot on England's throat by claiming that Eddie Jones' team struggles in the absence of Billy Vunipola.

Vunipola has returned home after re-fracturing the arm that was broken in January and faces another extended spell on the sidelines, the latest setback in an injury-blighted 18 months.

England have already surrendered the series 2-0 before the final Test staged in Cape Town on Saturday – and Springboks No 8 Duane Vermeulen insists they are not the same side without their wrecking ball No 8.

"I saw Billy go down and thought it was his shoulder at first," said Vermeulen, who was named man of the match in South Africa's 23-12 victory in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

"He's definitely England's go-forward guy, and without him, from what I saw in the Six Nations they struggled. They need that guy.

"Hopefully Nathan Hughes can step up and make it his own. Billy is a big loss."