Folau could face Wallabies, Kearns says Eddie should go home

Israel Folau could face the Wallabies if Tonga coach Toutai Kefu gets a plan for his side to face Australia in Brisbane next year.

Kefu is pushing Tonga to play a game to mark the 50th anniversary of the Pacific island nation’s famous upset 16-11 triumph over the Wallabies at Ballymore in 1973.

The former Wallabies striker told Fox Sports his plan has received backing from Rugby Australia, but given it is a World Cup year it will be difficult to find a gap in an already busy schedule.

Folau is eligible to play for Tonga after World Rugby changed its eligibility rules to now allow players to change nations after a three-year gap. Former medalist John Eales has not made a Test appearance since the last of his 73 appearances for Australia in 2019.

The 33-year-old former Waratah, who started his career in the NRL and had an unfortunate stint in the AFL, is plying his trade in Japan’s club competition for the Shining Arcs after his controversial split from Rugby Australia on his homophobic social media posts which he claimed were merely the fact that he was stating his religious beliefs.

“I mentioned this to him and his eyes lit up at the opportunity to play the Wallabies,” Kefu told Fox Sports of his conversation with Folau.

“Gathering this team for next year, a lot of other players, players like Charles Piutau, I saw George Moala and Pita Ahki on Wednesday, Malakai Fekitoa, they keep asking, do you Izzy is going to play? And I told them, of course, he bought it.

“That [1973] team, they still talk about that side in the streets and bars, beating the Wallabies back then was something else so it would have been a fantastic occasion to celebrate that.

“It would have been a great time before the World Cup. It would be a great opportunity to celebrate the history of the Tonga Rugby Union.

(Photo by Dan Mullan – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Kearns says Jones should go home after World Cup

According to former skipper Phil Kearns, Rugby Australia should lay the welcome mat for former Wallabies manager Eddie Jones after next year’s World Cup.

Jones is all but certain to be kicked out by England after guiding them to the 2023 tournament and Kearns told the Sydney Morning Herald he thinks the 62-year-old would be the perfect candidate for a senior role Down Under, especially to usher in the next generation of Wallabies.

“Eddie is a really good guy and an amazing coach. I think Eddie would be fabulous to deal with the young rugby players in our country, the up-and-coming players,” Kearns said.

“I think he builds the resilience of the players. He’s not easy with them and I think we all know that. He’s tough.

“He demands excellence and that can only be good for the players along the way. I think it would be great if Eddie had a role in the future of Australian rugby.

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