Issy an astronaut? Folau not about to stop soaring

Israel Folau should be working for NASA.

That was the tongue-in-cheek take from Crusaders coach Scott Robertson after Folau yet again proved the Waratahs' key strike weapon as they halted the defending champions' winning streak at 19 games in a 20-12 win on Saturday night.

But it was also an historic night for the code-hopper who drew level with Doug Howlett at the top of the all-time Super Rugby try-scoring list with 59 five-pointers, albeit from eight fewer games than the legendary All Blacks finisher.

Just where Folau signs off on that list is anyone's guess given he signed a four-year extension with the Waratahs and Wallabies late last year, and he is determined to make the absolute most of an unrivalled aerial skill-set he still thinks NSW can get more out of.

"I think out of the 59 tries, I'm probably lucky if maybe 10 are from kicks," Folau told reporters after the Waratahs upset win at the SCG. "And it's something that I'd like to see a lot more from as I'm obviously confident in my ability to get up and contest for the balls.

"But like I said, with tonight's match, I was just thankful we were able to get the win and I'll continue to work on those little combinations with Bernard [Foley], Kurtley [Beale] or whoever the playmaker is to try and execute those."

Folau equalled Howlett's record when he forced a loose ball in-goal following a cross-kick from Foley six minutes from fulltime. But there was nothing scrappy in the leap, catch and offload he produced to put Cameron Clark over, a play that gave the Waratahs the breathing space they never really looked like relinquishing.

It brought back memories of a similar move Folau himself scored from in the Waratahs' win over the Stormers in their 2018 season opener, and added weight to the theory that his skill-set is better served when he has a clear gallop to the contest, rather than having to set himself more steadily for a cross-kick right on the tryline.

"My eyes on the ball the whole time and then just trying to get up there and compete, making it a contest out of the ball," Folau said when asked what went through his mind as he approached an aerial contest.

"But I'm obviously confident that I can get up there and win the ball, so I always get excited around those opportunities when they present themselves and, like I said, it was a tactic of ours going into the game. So I was really ready for it."

The Wallabies superstar was full of praise for Clark's positioning, which gave the winger the jump on the chasing Crusaders cover defence, just as he was the Waratahs' supreme defensive effort.

NSW had missed just five tackles to halftime and while a few more gaps appeared after the break, they dug deep late on inspired by the physical injection of Karmichael Hunt off the bench.

"I was mostly pleased with the defence," Folau said. At fullback there sitting [back], I thought our line was really comfortable there about going up and making those tackles as a team."

Folau may yet be rested for the Waratahs' home game against the Sunwolves on Friday in Newcastle, the first Super Rugby game to be staged in the Hunter region. But he remains central in the Waratahs' quest to go one better than their semifinal exit last year, while the Wallabies selection panel -- who will start to engage on a regular basis now Scott Johnson's commitments have concluded with Scotland -- will also be thrilled to see Folau in form.

What about walking in the same moon-treading shoes as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldren and co., then?

"Definitely not, mate, I'll just stick to playing footy."

A NASA career may be out of the question, but few people fly as high when the Waratahs fullback really wants to soar.