NSW Waratahs and Wallabies captain Michael Hooper says embattled teammate Israel Folau is in a positive headspace despite being engulfed in a storm of controversy.
An injured Folau hasn’t played since making a series of provocative posts about gay people that led to the superstar code-hopper being hauled in for a meeting this week with Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle and Waratahs chief Andrew Hore.
The devout Christian was asked to consider the impact of any anti-gay posts might have after his public stance upset some of RA’s biggest sponsors, including Qantas and ASICS.
But he is refusing to back down, on Thursday night posting another comment on Instagram confirming his strong religious beliefs.
“Stand with God no matter what. Don’t be afraid to stand up for the truth, even if it means that you will be standing alone,” the post said.
While Folau has received support from Waratahs and Wallabies teammate Curtis Rona, who posted “We stand with #IsraelFolau” on his Instagram account, Hooper said he hadn’t directly addressed the issue with the three-times John Eales Medallist.
“I’ve spoken to Izzy in a training capacity, pretty briefly. He’s been in getting his hammy right, which is coming along really well,” Hooper said on Friday.
“But, other than that, boys have checked in to see if he’s OK and he’s positive.
“His hammy’s getting better and he’s looking to get back on the field soon.”
Folau is due back in three weeks after tearing his hamstring in the Waratahs’ win over the Brumbies a fortnight ago.