Israel Folau requests Rugby Australia hearing over anti-gay message

Israel Folau requests Rugby Australia hearing over anti-gay message

Castle said Folau was warned formally and repeatedly previous year about the expectation of him as a Wallabies and Waratahs player in regards to his social media use, following similar controversial posts.

Comments made by Israel Folau on Instagram and Twitter have been widely condemned since he made them last week.

That would force Rugby Australia to decide whether to tear up his lucrative Aus$4 million (US$2.9 million) four-year contract that was signed in February.

Former Wallabies star Drew Mitchell has used Israel Folau's own words against him to hit out at the decision to challenge Rugby Australia in a code of conduct hearing.

"Israel has responded formally today to request a Code of Conduct hearing which, under the circumstances, was not an unexpected outcome", Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said in a statement.

Folau will be able to state his case in a bid to keep his job playing for Australia.

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle, who on Wednesday acknowledged Folau's hearing request was "not an unexpected outcome", had a year ago come under fire for allowing the player to escape sanctions for earlier anti-gay posts.

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"Given the history, and as Folau is a public figure, RA is likely to have grounds for taking disciplinary action which may include termination of his contract".

"After the date for the hearing is confirmed Rugby Australia and the NSW Rubgy Union will make no further comment on the matter until the Code of Conduct process has concluded". The body has to weigh up the fact that it's a World Cup year with the fact Folau was seriously cautioned last year for essentially doing the exact same thing.

Despite their clear difference in views, Owens said he had no difficulty separating that from the way he refereed Folau and other players who thought similarly.

Following a service at the Truth Of Jesus Christ Church, he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: "I share it with love".

Israel Folau may soon be playing his club rugby in Japan or Europe but, first and foremost, he says he now lives for God.

The Super League could, however, be a potential avenue for Folau, with reporting he could make a return to the code after all. Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie said last week he had failed the sport's character test and would not get a contract. But I'd also like him to understand and respect that this is who I am, and I'm glad rugby has allowed me to be who I am.

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