Israel Folau won't change aerial approach despite ban
Last Updated: 02/07/18 10:09am
Israel Folau says he will not change the way he competes for possession in the air despite his suspension.
The Wallaby full-back received a yellow card in the final match of Australia's series against Ireland and was subsequently handed a one-match suspension for an aerial challenge on Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony.
Folau says he would like more clarity about what is permitted in how aerial tackles are made, which has led to an increasing number of red and yellow cards being awarded even in cases where referees believed there was not intent to cause harm.
"I'll still keep attacking the ball the way I do," Folau said. "I think going forward I'd like to see a little bit more clarity within that particular area of the game, not only for myself but other players involved in those aerial contests."
Folau said he was aware it was the responsibility of all players to ensure a player in the air is able to land safely. But he believes contact between players is inevitable and should be refereed accordingly.
"When you go into a contest in the air, you are going to make contact with the opposing player," he said.
"It's not going to be always clean in the sense that there won't be any contact but I understand the dangers of being in the air.
"The last thing you want for yourself or for the opposing player is for anyone to get any serious injury."
All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett has also called on World Rugby to clarify rules of engagement in the area.
Barrett suffered a concussion during the second match of All Blacks' three Tests against France last month when he came into contact with France full-back Benjamin Fall while leaping to win the ball in the air. Fall received a red card for his part in the incident in which he accidentally stepped into Barrett's path, causing him to fall heavily on his head.
World Rugby reviewed the incident and subsequently rescinded the red card awarded against Fall while at the same time saying Australian referee Angus Gardiner was correct under the rules in awarding the red card.
Barrett, who missed the third Test against France because of the injury he suffered a week earlier, insists areal contests in the air was an important part of the game which he hoped would not be lost.
"It will be a shame if it's taken away," he said. "I just think we need a bit of clarity around the ruling so referees can be 100 per cent clear on if it's intentional, if it's unintentional, if it's a penalty, if it's a yellow card and so on."