Folau gets the chop, to miss World Cup

SYDNEY • Rugby Australia (RA) yesterday confirmed it had terminated the contract of star player Israel Folau following anti-gay comments the full-back made last week.

The governing body said he "had committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct, warranting termination of his employment contract and, if he does not accept the sacking within 48 hours, a conduct hearing will be heard".

RA chief executive officer Raelene Castle added that Folau had previously been "warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player... and he has failed to meet those obligations".

The devout Christian posted on his social media accounts last Wednesday that "hell awaits" homosexuals.

RA responded almost immediately, claiming he would be fired for expressing beliefs "inconsistent with the values of the sport".

However, he refused to take down his post in the face of criticism, and has appeared both unrepentant and unconcerned about the consequences for his career as his religion takes precedence.

Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday: "First and foremost, I live for God now.

"Whatever he wants me to do, I believe his plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that's not to continue on playing, so be it."

The 30-year-old, who has 73 caps for the Wallabies, had been a shoo-in to make the squad for the Sept 20-Nov 2 Rugby World Cup in Japan before his inflammatory postings. But his international career is likely to be over after Australia coach Michael Cheika labelled his actions "disrespectful".

He added: "We had a discussion after the last time (he posted something similar) and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that, if that's what he wants, to be part of the team... When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia, everyone.

"Everyone that is out there supporting us, we don't pick and choose... As it stands right now, you wouldn't be able (to pick him)." DPA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2019, with the headline 'Folau gets the chop, to miss World Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe