Folau preaching virtues of defence to Tahs

Adrian Warren
Israel Folau has stressed the importance of defence in the lead up to the Super Rugby semi-final

NSW Waratahs attacking weapon Israel Folau has stressed defence will be the big factor against a Lions side tipped to try and bully the Australian team.

The Tahs defence has been found wanting at times this season and will be tested by the free-scoring Lions in the Super Rugby semi-final at Johannesburg's Ellis Park on Saturday night (AEST).

Vastly experienced fullback Folau, a veteran of many big matches in both rugby codes, has been imparting his wisdom in the leadup to the game.

"Israel has been pounding on it all week that defence will win games," "Tahs lock Jed Holloway said.

"The way we turn that around is by holding the ball.

"Once we get into the flow of things we're supremely confident.

"Israel has played in a lot of big stages and for me his voice has probably been one of the most important over the last two weeks.

"He's got such a calming demeanour, but when he says something - and he doesn't' really say something often - it really means a lot."

Like the Waratahs the Lions are happy to spread the ball, but Holloway expects the home team's strategy to be based on traditional South African rugby virtues.

"We're expecting the Lions to try and run over us and try and bully us like a typical South African side," Holloway said.

"But they also have that little bit of flair and they love to play a bit of rugby as well.

"We believe if we shut down their key guys, our backs will be great because we believe we have the best backline in the competition.".

Holloway was confident the Tahs' lineout, which has lost a few throws over the last two games, will lift against statistically the competition's premier team in that area.

."They are either just timing issues or just overthrows, nothing that can't be foxed quite quickly." he said.

Adjusting to training at altitude hasn't been an issue for NSW..

"We've been out playing games or outside doing things, making sure we're sucking in that dry air," Holloway said.

'At training yesterday I didn't really notice the difference between Sydney and over here, so I don't think altitude's an excuse for us.

No.8 Michael Wells and Wallables lock Rob Simmons, are both expected to play this weekend after each got a head knock against the Highlanders .