In-demand Wallabies full-back Israel Folau ruled out any move to Europe or a switch back to league in Australia before next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Folau is hot property across the two codes and comes off contract next year, with Toulon reportedly expressing an interest in the dual rugby international back.
Toulon, the reigning Heineken Cup and Top 14 champions, are one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, boasting a star-studded roster including former Wallabies backs Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and the newly signed James O’Connor.
But Folau, 25, said he would not decide his future before rugby’s showpiece event which starts in England in September next year.
“There’s a lot of options that’s going to be presented when that time comes,” he told reporters.
“I’ll have a look at everything and see what I do from there.
“I’m signed to the NSW Waratahs for next year so that’s all I’m thinking about.
“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll assess as we get closer but at this stage I’m just thinking about today.”
Folau has been an outstanding success since switching to rugby union and has scored 11 tries in just 17 Tests, including two on debut against the British and Irish Lions last year.
He said competing at the 2016 Olympic Games wasn’t something he had thought much about, even though the Australian Rugby Union is said to be likely to use the prospect of winning the inaugural Rugby Sevens gold medal in Rio as a carrot in its contract negotiations with him.
Folau said he misses the atmosphere of playing in rugby league’s State of Origin, four years since he last represented Queensland against New South Wales.
“I miss it a little bit to be quite honest,” Folau said ahead of Wednesday’s second Origin game in Sydney.
“But in saying that I’m grateful I’ve been there before and I’m enjoying where I am right now.”
Folau was targeted by the French in Saturday’s dour 6-0 Test win in Melbourne as the Wallabies clinched the series.
France appeared to kick to him, sensing his return kicking was not his strongest attacking weapon, and sent down a defensive line to ensure his dangerous counter-attack running didn’t eventuate.
He said he expects to be confronted with those tactics regularly leading into the World Cup, as teams attempt to nullify his attacking potential.
To combat being the most marked man on the field, Folau said he is trying to improve his kicking game and build combinations with his outside men.
“That’s just the way it is,” he explained.
“They did a good job of that so it’s a matter of finding different ways. I’ve got to work with the guys around me really.
“I think I’m more reactive to running the ball, but I want to find that balance when to run and when to kick.”
- Planet Rugby