Israel Folau has signed on to stay with the Waratahs and Wallabies for the next five years. Photo: REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY, Australia - The New South Wales Waratahs said on Wednesday they had wrapped up a deal to keep Israel Folau in rugby union until 2022 and are also in advanced discussions with Adam Ashley-Cooper about a return to Australia for next season.

Chief executive Andrew Hore told reporters on Wednesday that a new deal to keep fullback Folau in Sydney was completed at the Super Rugby club's end and was only awaiting the fine detail of the Wallabies element of the agreement. "It's Rugby Australia's announcement to make, and we would leave them to make that at a time that they deem is appropriate," he said.

Coach Daryl Gibson later indicated that 116-cap Wallabies outside back Ashley-Cooper might be playing alongside Folau in the Waratahs backline next year as the 34-year-old has a crack at making it to a fourth World Cup.

"We're looking for our wing and potentially, discussions with Adam are progressing nicely to the point where we're looking at a decision there," he said. "He's made it pretty clear with his desire to push for the World Cup and we want to give him the chance to do that."

A versatile and highly dependable back, Ashley-Cooper represented Australia at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups before leaving for France to play for Bordeaux. The Wallabies face the All Blacks in Japan on Saturday in teh final game of the 2018 Bledisloe Cup, before departing for a tour of Europe. Though the title has already been wrapped by New Zealand, Australia will hope to avoid a 3-0 whitewash in the series.

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