BRISBANE - Israel Folau admitted he still has a long way to go to match the hype after a deflating start to his Super Rugby career.
Talked up as a Waratahs saviour and Wallabies bolter to play the British and Irish Lions in June, the code-hopper looked far from either in NSW's 25-17 loss to Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Unlike previous Queensland defectors Wendell Sailor and Berrick Barnes, Folau received a warm welcome on his return to Brisbane's "Cauldron" but couldn't reproduce any of his match-winning league exploits or superb trial form.
Reports he'd been included in a Wallabies logistics and promotions camp on Sunday and Monday has been denied by Test team officials, and on the basis of his debut such an invitation would have been premature.
"I was certainly disappointed in my personal performance and I'll have to go back and work on a few things," the 23-year-old told Fox Sports.
Queensland's menacing backline defence sweated on Folau and jolted the ball from his grasp three times with driving tackles.
Rookie Ben Volavola provided more spark from fullback when he entered the fray after halftime but Waratahs coach Michael Cheika isn't about to make any hasty changes with Folau.
"He didn't carry the ball as good as he did in the trials but we didn't give him the ball perhaps where we should have," he said.