SYDNEY (AFP) – Wallabies fullback Israel Folau revealed yesterday he is keen to play sevens at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, saying participating in the Games would be “something special”.
Folau started out in rugby league then switched to Australian rules football before a successful transition to rugby union.
The 29-year-old told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that the chance to become an Olympian would only come around once in a lifetime.
“If I could take that opportunity, I’m sure it’d be something to cherish and remember for the rest of your life,” he told the newspaper.
“There’s no doubt the experience would be unreal.
“I’d definitely want to put my hand up to see if that opportunity (arose).”
Folau, who last month signed a four-year deal that keeps him with the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs until the end of 2022, said he had not yet discussed the idea with his bosses at Rugby Australia.
Sevens, a shortened, fast-paced version of rugby union, made its Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games when Australia made the quarter-finals and Fiji won gold.
To prepare properly for the Olympics, Folau would need to take part in the 10-round Sevens World Series, which would mean he would miss most of next year’s Wallabies Tests and the entire the 2020 Super Rugby season with the Waratahs.
He will be 31 when the Tokyo Games take place and would need to consider the lessons from other top athletes who have struggled after switching to sevens in the quest for Olympic glory.
Rugby league star Jarryd Hayne was omitted from Fiji’s squad for Rio after failing to reach the high levels of aerobic fitness required for sevens.
All Black Sonny Bill Williams made it to Brazil even though he was never a dominant force in sevens, but ruptured an achilles tendon as New Zealand suffered a shock loss to Japan in his first match.