Flying Folau is the Suncorp Superman

Israel Folau is set to launch an aerial raid on the Irish.
Israel Folau is set to launch an aerial raid on the Irish.

"AIR Izzy" is booked to soar over Suncorp Stadium with a powerful warning from the Wallabies that the Irish are next to feel the sting of rugby's ultimate "free kick."

In-form fullback Israel Folau said he would back his supreme aerial skills against anyone of any size or experience, at any time, in the scene-setting first Test of the series.

More than that, Folau's ridiculous all-codes haul of 35 tries from 40 games at his favourite ground is riveting proof he can back up his words in the air or on land.

That's 12 in rugby and another 23 dominating rugby league for the Broncos (18), Storm (1), Kangaroos (1) and Queensland (3) in Origin.

There is an ideal use of the Bernard Foley cross-kick to the acrobatic leaper who nailed the Queensland Reds just a week ago with a fingertip classic plucked out of the sky for a try.

Many missed that that kick was under penalty advantage so if Foley miscued or Folau split it, the NSW Waratahs would have returned for a second-chance attack from a formal penalty.

"Anywhere in the attacking 22 we look for those chances straight away, especially on advantage because it's a free shot," Folau said.

It's the equivalent of Twenty20 cricket's "free hit" after a no-ball.

Israel Folau scored one of the greatest State of Origin tries off a cross-field kick.
Israel Folau scored one of the greatest State of Origin tries off a cross-field kick.

"I back Bernard to get the kick right every time. I want to make the most of it and come down with the goods," Folau said.

"To me, it doesn't matter what the size (of the Irish wingers), I'll back myself to get the ball."

Keith Earls, the experienced 67-Test Irish winger, and tall rookie Jacob Stockdale have been warned.

The Folau ploy has immense value as a decoy too, according to World Cup-winning Wallabies great Tim Horan.

"Izzy is king under those kicks to the corner, but the Wallabies will have three plays not one," Horan said.

"If the Irish guess at putting two players on him the defensive spacing opens up for a possible inside runner off Foley or a Samu Kerevi to go hard in midfield."

Such precise plays all rely on the Wallabies' pack first ripping into Peter O'Mahony's champion Irish side with the same intensity the world's No.2 side will throw at them.

David Pocock will make his return for the Wallabies.
David Pocock will make his return for the Wallabies.

The Wallabies have rarely paired two such bullocking locks as Adam Coleman and Izack Rodda, while flanker David Pocock's first Test in 18 months lifts the authority too.

Skipper Michael Hooper said the short six-day team assembly had "not been all smooth sailing", but coaches and players had gelled with the plays and style they wanted.

"I think we've got a great ability to run it from everywhere with the strikepower we have and playmakers in form, but tweaking to do it in smart ways is crucial," Hooper said.

 

The Irish have jumped the Wallabies with 17-0 leads to win their most recent clashes in Dublin (2014 and 2016) when too much of the angst has been self-inflicted.

"It's not impossible to chase, but it's hard against a side that is really good at building pressure," Hooper said.

"It'd be great for momentum to win the first one, and great for confidence to know you can do it and it doesn't put you up against it."

A statement win over Ireland would be huge considering the pressure that flawed first Tests against the British and Irish Lions (2013) and England (2016) poured into losing series.

Coach Michael Cheika knows the high stakes: "It's Test footy, you've got to win."


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