Ready to play: Israel Folau trains with the Waratahs on Tuesday. Photo: Tamara DeanThe voice of players recovering from injury should be heard before a decision is made on whether they should be allowed to play, says Waratahs assistant coach Nathan Grey.
On Tuesday. the Waratahs deferred naming their team for Saturday’s clash against the Bulls in Sydney, citing the case involving Israel Folau, who was ruled out by the ARU from NSW’s game against the Force last week due to concerns over a throat injury.
However, as the Waratahs wait for the ARU’s position on Folau this week, the team said on Tuesday that if he is given the green light, he will be named in the side for Saturday’s game at Allianz Stadium.
The star Wallabies fullback, who has maintained he is ready to play and was upset about his sidelining last week, trained for the full Waratahs session on Tuesday.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika kept quiet on Tuesday. His mind was focused on preparing his team for Saturday’s game, as well as his SANZAR judicial hearing over a verbal clash with a TV cameraman in Durban which is due on Wednesday.
When asked about Folau, Grey said: “Hopefully he will be cleared to play”.
Grey agreed the view of an injured player should be taken on board before a decision is made on whether he can play.
Folau was angry the ARU made its decision on Friday without speaking to him first, especially after he passed a fitness test during the week and was named in the Waratahs side to play the Force.
Asked if a player’s desire to play should be observed in such circumstances, Grey said on Tuesday: “Without doubt. You would like to think that the most important person concerned in the whole situation would be consulted.
“You take that information on board. Lots of different players have that [situation] during their career – to make those decisions based on experts’ opinions, based on their feelings and whether they are happy to adopt a certain level of risk.
“The welfare of the players is always at the forefront of the decision making, and players are definitely informed on what the risks are.
“It’s a consultative matter. You just have to take the right information, as much information as you can, and make the best decision.”
Grey said he had never experienced a situation where a national body had overruled a selection at such a late time.
But he said the ARU had set a precedent for future cases.
“It’s crystal-balling a little bit, but a precedent has certainly been set on ensuring that the processes [are] set in place … they have just got to be followed,” Grey said.
Asked if he felt Folau would have been played by the Wallabies if last Saturday’s game had been a Test, Grey smiled and said: “It wasn’t so … again that’s crystal-balling. But who knows.”
While everyone agreed the Waratahs are stronger with Folau, Grey said his importance was not just in attack but defence as well.
“People forget that he is very, very good defensively as well,” Grey said.
“He is a very good organiser at the back and takes away a lot of play from his good positional sense.”
However, should Folau not be allowed to play, Grey said the Waratahs were ready to adapt.
“We don’t really know what’s happening there, but if he is out, we have plenty of options like playing Kurtley Beale at the back there,” Grey said.
“In terms of how we want to play the game, [it] doesn’t change very much at all in terms of having Israel at the back or not … but I’m not the only one who would be saying it would be pretty handy to have him there.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.