Wakefield Trinity v Catalans - Israel Folau may have met his match

WAKEFIELD Trinity coach Chris Chester acknowledges the obvious brilliance of dual-code star Israel Folau’s but feels the Catalans Dragons centre could have his own hands full today.

Australian Folau was devastating when helping the emphatic French side rip up Castleford Tigers on Sunday.

Asked how Trinity plan to stop the athletic 31-year-old when they meet at St Helens this afternoon, Chester replied: “With a great deal of difficulty.

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“But I think we’ve got a world-class centre sat on our left edge up against him.

“If I was Israel Folau I’d probably be looking at Bill Tupou and asking the same questions – what am I going to be able to do against him?

“There’s no doubting what a fantastic player he (Folau) is; he’s unbelievable in the air, he looks like he’s gained a yard or two of pace over these last 15 weeks and he is a special talent.

“But I just think looking at their squad and the players they have coming back this week – people like Sam Tomkins, Michael McIllorum – it is going to be a real test for our guys.

“We’re looking forward to it, though.”

Wakefield's Bill Tupou: Big task. Picture: SWPIx

The sides only discovered on Wednesday they would be facing each other after Hull FC’s Covid-19 outbreak obliterated the fixture list.

Trinity were due to play champions St Helens but their recent French signing Tony Gigot, who won the Lance Todd Trophy as Catalans lifted the Challenge Cup in 2018, has been able to offer them some insight.

“We’ve had a good chat and Tony obviously had his input on Catalans and what their strengths are,” said Chester, whose side returned from lockdown with a 
23-22 loss against Wigan Warriors last Sunday.

“He also indicated to us what they tried to do to us in the past and what they achieved as well as us some tips on what their deficiencies are.

“It was very difficult to show the players any sort of vision with the fixtures being changed as late as they were but we’re all in the same boat.

“We have to play the full 80 and not 60 like last week,” added Chester who will be without injured winger Tom Johnstone.