Folau aerial threat is Tahs' Super weapon

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says attacking kicks for Israel Folau will be prevalent in 2018.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says attacking kicks for Israel Folau will be prevalent in 2018.

NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson will unashamedly focus on harnessing flying fullback Israel Folau's aerial ability after declaring attacking kicking will increase as Super Rugby teams try to pierce fast-rushing defences.

Two of the Tahs' four tries in their 34-27 home win over the Stormers on Saturday came from kicks.

Folau caught a midfield bomb from five-eighth Bernard Foley and scooted 35 metres for a first-half try.

After the break hooker Damien Fitzpatrick crossed after getting a pass from winger Curits Rona, who caught a cross-field chip from centre Kurtley Beale,

With most sides rushing up quickly in defence, Gibson has identified smart kicking as a way to create opportunities, especially for Folau.

"You are going to see more kicking in terms of kicking for attacking purposes and we happen to have one of the best in the world at catching those forward," Gibson said.

"We're going to continue to use that tactic, we're going to be very open with that, but you are going to have to defend it."

As Stormers coach Robbie Fleck admitted, that's no easy task.

"It's quite tough to compete with Folau in the air, we knew that was going to come," he said.

Gibson revealed neither prop Sekope Kepu nor halfback Nick Phipps will travel with the with the team for their next two matches in South Africa and Argentina.

While Kepu's suspension ends after the Tahs' next game against the Sharks, he won't be flown over for the following week's fixture against the Jaguares.

"We've made a decision that we're going to leave him behind, let him work on his fitness," Gibson said.

"We believe he's still not going to be physically able to really be effective,, so we prefer to leave him at home so he's ready for that Rebels game."

Gibson is also targeting that March 18 match in Sydney as the return date for Phipps, who is recovering from a calf injury.

"With the dual travel that we do face, we felt that it's better that he takes that time and the medical people are telling me that he'll be ready for the Rebels game," Gibson said.

Tighthead prop Kalivati Tawake has been added to the squad for the matches in South Africa and Argentina.

Winger Taqele Naiyaravoro, flanker Will Miller and hooker Tolu Latu have also been added to the squad that tackled the Stormers.

Australian Associated Press