4 May 2013

Folau not a worthy Wallaby, says Jake White.

3:23 pm on 4 May 2013

The World Cup-winning coach Jake White has sparked a selection firestorm, claiming it would be an indictment on the Wallabies jumper if Israel Folau was picked for the looming series with the British and Irish Lions.

While not questioning Folau's talents, the former Springboks coach and now Brumbies mentor says the code hopper must commit long-term to Australian rugby before being handed a Wallabies jersey.

The 24-year-old former rugby league international has played just nine Super Rugby games for the Waratahs since switching codes for a second time after two seasons in the AFL with Greater Western Sydney.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is refusing to guarantee Folau selection in his final 31-man squad for the Lions series, but selected him in a preliminary squad for a logistics camp last month.

Deans also lavished Folau with praise this week, saying Australia's youngest rugby league international could become "an absolute legend of the game" if he remained in rugby beyond this year when his Rugby Union contract expires.

Impressed with Folau's transition, Lions coach Warren Gatland says the tourists fully expect the Waratahs fullback to feature in the series.