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He’s been able to answer most of the on-field questions posed by opponents, but now Israel Folau must answer to his off-field bosses.
The classy back is scheduled to meet Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and her NSW rugby union counterpart Andrew Hore in Sydney on Tuesday to discuss his use of social media.
Australian rugby’s most thrilling player often gets people excited with his skills and deeds, but some of his words, opinions and posts have triggered less positive passions.
Wallabies superstar Folau caused an uproar when he said last week gay people were destined for hell “unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”.
That followed the firestorm generated by his support last year for the ‘No’ campaign during same-sex marriage plebiscite voting.
His opinions and posts have put Folau at odds with his national and state employers, who have placed great emphasis on the code’s inclusiveness.
“Israel’s comment reflects his personal religious beliefs, however it does not represent the view of Rugby Australia or NSW Rugby,” Castle said in a statement last week.
“We are aligned in our view that rugby is a game for all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender, which is clearly articulated in rugby’s inclusion policy.
While obviously concerned about last week’s post, it’s not clear what action, if any, Folau’s employers can take, other than remind him of their values and ask him to perhaps be more considered and less controversial in his opinions.
NSW Waratahs back Folau can’t let his feet do the talking for him at the moment, as he’s sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Code-hopper Folau comes off contract at the end of this year, with the former NRL star and AFL player yet to announce his intentions for 2019.
His wife Maria is currently representing New Zealand in netball at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.