Israel Folau has reportedly put months of contract uncertainty behind him, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting that the former league and AFL star had signed a contract extension that will keep him at the Wallabies and Waratahs until 2022.
The 29-year-old has played union since 2013, making 73 appearances for the Waratahs and 69 for the Wallabies over that span. He previously played for the GWS Giants in the AFL for one season, enjoying a 91-game career in the NRL with Melbourne and Brisbane before that.
According to reports, the contract extension had been finalised some time ago, but Rugby Australia chose to delay the announcement after Folau’s controversial comments on gay marriage caused significant controversy on social media.
At the time, Folau told Players’ Voice he was prepared to quit rugby union altogether if it came to that.
“I told Raelene [Castle, Rugby Australia CEO,] if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately,” he said at the time.
Eventually, Folau escaped sanction for his comments – paving the way for the relationship to be repaired and a new deal to be signed.
Folau had received significant interest from the Reds, but resisted their overtures to stay at the NSW club.
While most of the Australian side have contracts expiring at the end of the World Cup season next year, Folau is one of a handful of players to have put pen to paper on deals beyond 2019.
Captain Michael Hooper is contracted well beyond the end of next season, as is Allan Alaalatoa.
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