All Blacks great says Australia would be “silly” not to select him to take on the Lions.
New rugby union recruit Israel Folau has been paid the highest tribute by the code’s most fearsome outside back Jonah Lomu.
The former All Black great said Folau’s transition to the 15-man game has been “scary” and backed him for even greater things if he picked for the Wallabies domestic season.
Lomu broke new ground for large wingers in rugby union to storm onto the scene at the 1995 World Cup, single-handily redefining how the game is played.
And after his starring role in the NSW Waratahs 62-point thumping of the Southern Kings, Lomu said Australian coach Robbie Deans would be “silly” not to pick the convert to take on the British and Irish Lions.
“He will be scary when he comes to terms with the game. He could be Australia’s silent assassin,” Lomu said.
“They would be silly not to select him. He is one of those guys who can create something out of nothing. Once he gets into the Wallabies environment, he will develop and grow even faster.
“He will learn more and fast-track himself being around Robbie more than anything else. The two of them are such great thinkers of the game.
“The experience Robbie has, and the talent he has nurtured and been around before, I think he can help Izzy mature into a great Test player.”
Despite never having played Test rugby, Deans is considering blooding Folau in one of the toughest contests in the game, when the Lions travel to Australia for the first time in 12 years.
Despite his inexperience in the pressure-cooker environment, Lomu said he would have no doubt the former Melbourne Storm winger would grab the opportunity with both hands.
“In Test match rugby, you get just one or two opportunities in a game, and Izzy is a guy that will take them every time,” Lomu said.
“It is really a matter of what the other guys around him do, and in a Test team he will be surrounded by players who are familiar with Test-match intensity and who know how to react to the pressure.