Rugby: Folau races out to milestone

Wallabies player Israel Folau attempts to break away from the defence during the Rugby Championship. Photo / Getty Images
Wallabies player Israel Folau attempts to break away from the defence during the Rugby Championship. Photo / Getty Images

Wins are more important than tries for milestone man Israel Folau, who'll become the second-fastest player to 50 Tests when he takes the park against Scotland this weekend.

By the time he runs on to Murrayfield for the second Test of the Wallabies Spring Tour, it will have been three years, four months and 21 days since Folau made his debut against the Lions.

Only teammate Michael Hooper has reached the mark in a shorter time - edging Folau by a day when he notched his 50th in the 2015 World Cup semi-final win over Argentina.

"It's gone so quick ... the journey has been great. I didn't expect to play for the Wallabies when I started my career let alone get to wear the jersey 50 times," Folau said.

"I will enjoy the week, take it one day at a time, soak it all in and enjoy it with the guys around me."

Folau will be able to soak up the week safe in the knowledge he's returning to his best following a devastating, tackle-busting display in the Wallabies' Spring Tour-opening victory over Wales.

Certainly, his hard running and offloading has caught the eye of this week's opponents.

That Folau is on a career-worst eight-game tryless streak will provide scant relief for Scotland's defensive line, with the former NRL champion unlucky not to cross the line against Wales.

He ran for a game-high 156m, broke the line five times, was an ever-present offloading threat and threw the last pass for Reece Hodge to score in the first half.

But one thing was missing - that elusive try, which has evaded Folau since the final Test against England in June.

"The tries are probably a bonus for me," Folau said.

"It's always good when you cross the tryline for a meat pie, but the focus is always about the team.

"I thought the guys really played well so I was happy with how I contributed to the team."

Wales kicked early and deep to try to pin Australia in their own half - a tactic that backfired as Folau made easy metres on kick returns, and the Wallabies' back row constantly recycled possession.

Folau doesn't expect to the remaining northern hemisphere teams on the Spring Tour to take a similar approach.

"Maybe not as much as what we got on the weekend, but I certainly know that there'll be plenty of kicking," he said.

"(Scotland have) some great kickers in their side that can put the ball in good places.

"It's going to be challenging whatever we get (and) whoever takes the back field there is going to do a good job."

- AAP

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