Folau vs Le Roux

Both fullbacks will have a big influence on what is a crucial Rugby Championship fixture in Perth on Saturday, writes JON CARDINELLI.

Folau has made a profound impact since switching from league to union. He was one of the standout players for the Wallabies in only his first Test series, which was played against the British & Irish Lions in 2013.

Folau has continued to grow in stature since making his international debut. His contributions at Super Rugby level have also marked him as a player of rare quality.

Folau was joint top-try scorer in 2014 with 12 touchdowns, but then his blend of power and speed created many more opportunities for the Waratahs. He often breaks the first tackle, and is always looking to offload so as to maintain his side's attacking momentum.

He has not, however, been as effective against the All Blacks and Springboks. Part of the reason for this is down to the inefficiency of the Wallabies pack, as well as the weakness of the Australians' kicking game.

Willie le Roux has developed into a more rounded player over the past 12 months, and will test the Wallabies on several fronts. The hosts will know about Le Roux's ability to spark a counter-attack from deep, but they should be just as wary of his kicking from hand.

Indeed, those little chip kicks and grubbers have already led to several tries for the Boks in 2014. Expect Le Roux, and the other South African kickers, to kick in behind Folau this Saturday.

Photos: Gabriel Rossi/Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli