Tryscorer Israel Folau to miss Australia's end of year tour
SYDNEY (AP) — Israel Folau will miss Australia's end-of-year tour to Japan and Britain after electing to take an extended break from rugby following next weekend's exhibition match in Sydney against the Barbarians.
A prolific tryscorer, Folau has started in all 10 of Australia's tests so far this season, and scored his 12th international try of the year in the Wallabies' 23-18 win over New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.
Australian head coach Michael Cheika revealed on Sunday that he had agreed several months ago that the 28-year-old fullback will not take part in the end-of-year tour which involves tests against Japan, Wales, England and Scotland.
Folau also had an option to play club rugby in Japan under the terms of his flexible contract, but has decided instead to take a full break from the sport.
"It's a good time for him to have some time away from the spotlight, just sit down and relax," Cheika said. "He doesn't get a lot of chance to do that.
"He's been under the microscope every single day since he's come to rugby and I think it'll be a chance for him to get out of that for a moment, rest his body, rest his mind, take a well-earned breather and then get back into it from day one of Super Rugby next year."
Cheika will announce his squad for the end of season tour after next weekend's non-Test match against the Barbarians at the Sydney Football Stadium.
While Folau was picked to play in the game, most of Australia's frontline players, including the captain Michael Hooper, were omitted, giving several other players the chance to push for selection.
Cheika called up test veterans James Slipper and Ben McCalman, who have recently recovered from injuries, along with lock Kane Douglas, flyhalf Kyle Godwin and backrower Liam Wright.
Simmons, who left the field on a stretcher during Saturday's victory over the All Blacks, has been cleared of any major injury.
Australia squad to play the Barbarians: Forwards, Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Jack Dempsey, Kane Douglas, Folau Fainga'a, Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, Tom Robertson, James Slipper, Lopeti Timani, Lukhan Tui, Jordan Uelese, Liam Wright. Backs, Israel Folau, Kyle Godwin, Jake Gordon, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Billy Meakes, Duncan Paia'aua, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Henry Speight.