Issy good enough to wear green and gold?
I AM a huge fan of the TV show, The Biggest Loser.
Watching it during the week got me thinking that it's not too different from Wallaby selection for the up-coming British and Irish Lions Test series. And for one player in particular.
With selection of the first Wallaby squad due on Sunday, and the Reds out of the country for two weeks, tomorrow night's local derby between the Brumbies and the Tahs takes on added importance.
With TBL fresh in my mind, for both the Brumby and Tah teams this week has been like last-chance training. The game is the weekly weigh-off and a group of players are about to be voted off Wallaby selection.
Like TBL, selection in the first Wallaby squad is in the players' own hands and how they match up against the other competitors.
But there are also external factors that play a part. And that's important for one contestant who is new to the Wallaby selection game - Israel Folau.
Despite four of the five Aussie Super Rugby coaches omitting him from their Test squads when asked for their opinions some weeks ago, Folau is firming as a solid chance to wear the Wallaby jersey against the Lions this year.
I must admit my opinions of him have moved on (in a positive sense) since earlier on in the Super Rugby season. And the improvement of his value to the rugby code, and thus Wallaby rugby is based purely on his form over the past month, especially his play in the Republic.
Performances away in South Africa are judged highly for the simple fact that to play well in South Africa requires much more from an individual.
What's been most impressive about Folau's form has been his work off the ball, which is illustrative of his overall understanding of rugby and his game sense.
So why did four out of five Australian Super Rugby coaches not select him?
We waxed lyrical about his option-taking when he chose to play rugby for the Tahs over other options out there in the world of contact team sports.
But we also believed there was a longish time line for his ascension to higher honours.
We assumed there was no way (even no right) that a league/AFL player can make the Wallabies after four months and 18-odd games of rugby.
But is rugby chauvinism blocking rational thought?
Or are we basing it on the fact the big guy mightn't be around in the code next year?
Are we also placing too much importance on experience (i.e. three-four seasons in Super Rugby) on selection of Wallaby players to take on the Lions?
Players have previously been selected young and fresh out of club rugby to take on teams such as the All Blacks and the French, and performed like 10-year Test players. It can happen.
As former World Cup-winning Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer used to say, experience should be based on performance rather than age.
As gross weight loss is a primary factor in the weekly consequences of contestants on TBL, is not form in Super Rugby the primary element in selecting an Australian Test squad?
If we take away the rugby chauvinism and Folau is considered like any other Aussie Super Rugby player, then surely he has firmed on wearing the green and gold during the Lions series.