World Rugby have tweaked their law book to put the onus back on the ball carrier in a decision now nicknamed the ‘Folau rule’.
World Rugby have tweaked their law book to put the onus back on the ball carrier in a decision now nicknamed the ‘Folau rule’.

Wallabies welcome World Rugby’s ‘Folau rule’ tweak

WALLABIES fullback Dane Haylett-Petty has welcomed a move from rugby's lawmakers to start punishing lifters who don't bring down their teammates safely from aerial contests.

Now it's on Australia to make the most of what has been dubbed the 'Israel Folau rule' as they look to sort out their misfiring attack in Argentina.

World Rugby introduced a new rule last week which states: "Players who support or lift a teammate must lower the player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by a player of either team."

Folau was controversially suspended for a week in June for an aerial collision with Ireland skipper Peter O'Mahony, who fell awkwardly after being poorly lifted by teammate CJ Stander.

Haylett-Petty was among many critics of that decision at the time and said the law amendment was good news for all concerned - Folau, the Wallabies, and rugby at large.

"I think that's great. We can't be stopping people from contesting," Haylett- Petty told reporters in Buenos Aires, where Australia are preparing for their Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on Sunday morning (AEDT).

"It's a sport where you try and make everything a contest and especially for us having Izzy, who's the world's best in the air, it's definitely an area of the game that we want to contest.

"I think it's definitely up to that player (the lifter) to provide safety for his player and I'm glad World Rugby's done that."

The Wallabies have seemed more reluctant to play to Folau's aerial prowess since that suspension, but the rule change may prompt a swift return to that tactic - particularly given their meagre return of just 10 tries in their last five Test matches.

"We're definitely working on having variation and that part of our game is coming along," Haylett-Petty said.

"(Against South Africa) we got some great outcomes from competing in the air but we do have great kickers that are able to kick anywhere ... it's a work in progress at the moment and we're not quite there yet."

Haylett-Petty has played at fullback in Australia's last two outings with Folau instead used in a floating role off the wing.

It's anticipated they will remain in those positions for their clash with Los Pumas in Salta, the final assignment of this year's Rugby Championship.