4 May 2013

Folau selection would devalue Wallabies shirt- White

9:05 am on 4 May 2013

The World Cup winning coach Jake White says that picking code-hopper Israel Folau to face the British and Irish Lions in the three-test series in June and July would devalue the Wallabies shirt.

Former rugby league international Folau joined the New South Wales Waratahs this season after a two-year stint in Australia rules football.

The 24-year-old fullback has scored five tries in nine matches and Australia coach Robbie Deans says he could become "an absolute legend" of the game if he agreed to extend his stay in the sport.

But the former Springboks coach White says he understands the commercial imperatives of retaining such a high profile talent but thought it would be at the risk of devaluing the Wallabies shirt.

White says the Wallabies did the same with Mat Rogers, Wendall Sailor and Lote Tuqiri, and he understands as there's obviously competition for codes in Australia.

But White says Folau's got to want to play for the Wallabies and be a part of the Wallabies for many, many years if you want to give him a Wallaby jumper, otherwise it's a bit of an indictment for Australia.

Deans is expected to lose his job when his contract is up at the end of the year if Australia lose the series against the Lions with White and Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie the favourites to succeed him.