League and AFL convert Israel Folau scored a double on debut for the Waratahs and John Kirwan’s baby Blues gave the Reds a fright in losing 41-35.
The Waratahs beat the Rebels 24-16 in a Super Rugby Pre-season hit out and Folau, starting at fullback, made full use of the all out attacking approach from the Tahs.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was an interested spectator and said afterwards it was good that the new addition to rugby union had got his first match out of the way.
James O’Connor kicked two penalties for the Rebels in the first quarter but the Tahs led 12-11 at the break. Folau scored the first and fourth tries to seal the win.
‘It’s very similar (to rugby league) and I’ve felt very at home since I’ve joined the club. I’ve been really relaxed and that’s how I felt going into the game,’ said Folau.
‘I found the positional play really challenging, mainly in defence, and from fullback it’s very different to the way a rugby league fullback plays.’
Folau who started at fullback, also spent ten minutes in the sin bin for a professional foul, was also used at outside centre in the final quarter.
The Rebels will be pleased that O’Connor completed his return to rugby without injury complications.
The Reds, fielding 11 Wallabies, triumphed in an entertaining hit out in Toowoomba in a match that produced 12 tries.
The Reds won 41-35 and Quade Cooper started at flyhalf and played the hour. John Kirwan’s baby Blues were reportedly excellent in their commitment and were competitive throughout and trailed 36-35 with three minutes to play. They also scored some spectacular long range tries. The Blues coach picked 18 new caps for this match in Australia.