Words by Tom Connor
It takes something special to be a dual international; it takes something even more special to play all three major sporting codes in Australia professionally.
Israel Folau has been a revelation since making the switch to Rugby, so much so that he is now considered one of the best players in the world. It’s hard to believe he only started playing for the Waratahs at the beginning of 2013, just over a year ago.
Despite his limited time in the code, Izzy has treated us to a highlight reel of memorable moments that runs almost as long as his Rugby career.
Following last night's John Eales Medal win, we take a look at five of Izzy’s best moments to date.
The double meat on Debut
For most players on debut, they tend to aim for a solid performance with the simple goal of making no errors. This wasn’t exactly the case for Israel though, who was a standout in a beaten Wallabies side.
Looking back its hard to believe we started by confining this guy to the Wing, but that didn’t stop Israel from causing complete havoc for the British and Irish Lions defence in his debut Test.
It should come as no surprise though; spectacular International debuts seem to be a bit of a habit for Izzy. It’s easy to forget that he is still the youngest player ever to debut for the Kangaroos at just 18 years old, a game in which he also scored his first International try.
Much like he did for the Kangaroos, Izzy ran amuck out wide and bagged two meat pies to once again announce his name on the International stage.
Click here to relive Izzy’s historic debut night and witness the first of many five-pointers from the try-scoring machine.
The record equalling 10th try in a calendar year
Despite not even having spent a year in the game yet, that double meat on debut proved to be just the beginning for Izzy. Just months later he found himself zeroing in on the Wallabies all-time try scoring record for a calendar year.
Fellow code hopper Lote Tuqiri was the current record holder, after he amassed 10 tries in 12 Tests in just his second season with the Wallabies.
Sitting on nine tries heading in to their final Spring Tour game against Wales, it would take a brave man to bet against Israel equalling the record, if not breaking it.
In front of a pack crowd at Millennium Stadium, Folau equalled Tuqiri’s record when he carried two Welsh defenders over the line in one of his shortest effort of the year.
Click here to check all 10 of Izzy’s tries for the Wallabies in 2013.
THAT sidestep against the All Blacks
Israel Folau has scored plenty of tries and then some since making the switch over from AFL, but one that sticks out in the mind of all Aussie supporters came against the All Blacks back in August of 2013.
Now most people consider intercepts to be a thing of luck rather than skill – they’re hard to anticipate and if you get it wrong you’re made to look pretty silly.
Not Israel Folau though.
With the Wallabies behind on the scoreboard and in desperate need of a momentum shift, the prolific try-scoring machine stepped up to score perhaps his most memorable try.
Lurking just in off the Wing, Folau calmly snatched the intercept like a thief in the night.
Taking off with just his namesake and Kiwi counterpart to beat, Izzy put on some fancy footwork that will still be giving Israel Dagg nightmares, leaving the number 15 in a heap on the ground as the Wallabies celebrated a much needed five points.
Just in case you had forgotten it, click here to see that step.
The first man ever to top both the NRL & Super 15 try-scorers list
At the conclusion of Round 19 of the 2014 Super Rugby competition, Israel Folau became the first player ever to top both the NRL and Super 15 regular season try scorers list.
Despite being rested for the final game, Folau topped the Super 15 regular season try scoring tally with 12 meat pies and, by no small coincidence, the Waratahs finished as Minor Premiers.
Folau also topped the NRL regular season try scorers list back in 2007 when he was playing for the Melbourne Storm, a feet made all the more impressive given that it was his debut season.
Waratahs fans will be hoping he can repeat the achievement in 2015, especially when you consider that whenever Izzy has topped the try scoring charts, his team has gone on to win the big prize.
Israel dethrones South Africa's Southern Kings
In a performance that typified his breakout season in the game, Izzy looked like he was playing backyard footy against South African newbies, the Southern Kings back in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament.
Having seemingly had the ball on a piece of string, Israel produced a Man of the Match performance that will still be giving some of the Kings player’s nightmares more than a year down the track.
Making sure the scoreboard attendant was kept busy all night, the Waratahs ran in a 72-10 demolition of Super Rugby’s new boys.
As many may have been asleep for this one, click here to check out the Waratahs Izzy-inspired rout of the Southern Kings.