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Rugby Australia 'still planning to sack Israel Folau'

Rugby Australia 'still planning to sack Israel Folau'
© Reuters
Folau's homophobic remarks have incurred the wrath of many, including the likes of former team-mate Drew Mitchell.

Israel Folau has been told by Rugby Australia that it still intends terminating his contract despite meeting with the Wallabies full-back to discuss his latest homophobic remarks.

Folau said on his Instagram account on Wednesday that "hell awaits" for "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators." The post has not been deleted.

The 30-year-old, a Christian who holds deeply religious views, was warned last year for making homophobic comments on social media but escaped disciplinary action.

View this post on Instagram

Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

On this occasion, however, RA announced it would cancel the four-year deal he signed in January after failing to make contact with him despite repeated attempts.

A meeting has since been held at the union's headquarters in Sydney and while the RA's position is unchanged, the Wallabies face the prospect of entering this autumn's World Cup without one of the game's most gifted players.

"As the meeting was held in confidence between the player and his employers, Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union will not comment on the discussions at the meeting," a statement read.

"Following the meeting the two organisations will update their respective boards on the matter to consider next steps. Our joint position regarding Israel Folau is unchanged."

Folau has been stood down by his Super Rugby franchise the Waratahs amid reports he was planning to attend training on Monday after completion of their bye weekend.

The Rugby Union Players' Association accompanied Folau to the talks and revealed in a statement that he intends to honour his contract, adding that the RA's code of conduct must be followed during any disciplinary action.

But there has been widespread condemnation of his remarks, including from former Wallabies team-mate Drew Mitchell.

Upon returning to international rugby in 2015, Mitchell was a regular in the same back three as Folau, playing alongside him in the World Cup final defeat by New Zealand that same year.

"I think it's time for Israel to be moved on," Mitchell told foxsports.com.au.

"He's put himself before the game, he's put himself before his teammates and he's isolated himself to the point where there's only one decision for Rugby Australia where he has to go.

"If Israel Folau doesn't want to be involved in a sport that's inclusive then he should go find another sport because he's proven time and time again that he doesn't share those inclusive values."

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison, who is also a Pentecostal Christian, believes Folau is guilty of forgetting his responsibility as a role model.

Toulon have rejected the possibility to signing Israel Folau
Toulon have rejected the possibility of signing Folau, (Joe Giddens/PA)

"Israel's comments were insensitive and it's important that when you're in public life, you're just very mindful of being sensitive to other Australians and that you speak with that empathy," he said.

If RA is legally able to fulfil its wishes and discard Folau, then the 73-cap veteran's options are dwindling.

A return to his roots in union's rival code has been ruled out after the Australian Rugby League stated he would not be welcome because of his views, and now his most likely destination in Europe has also rejected the possibility of signing him.

"The guy is a moron, he must leave. Or you have to buy a brain," Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal told L'Equipe.


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Israel Folau in action for Australia on October 6, 2018
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