An anchor has been cut from rugby in Australia following the conclusion of the Israel Folau saga, former Test star turned commentator Greg Martin says.
RA and Folau issued a joint statement on Wednesday after reaching a confidential settlement, with both parties apologising for their actions.
The matter has been hanging over RA and the Wallabies for the past seven months since Folau was sacked from his $4m four-year contract for inflammatory social media posts and Martin was thrilled to see the end of it.
Martin said Folau had been dragging rugby down through the Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Championship and last month’s World Cup in Japan.
“We’ve had some good results with the under 20s, we’ve got a new (Wallabies) coach, but every time there’s good news Izzy has stuck his head up and said, ‘I want more money, I’m still suing, I haven’t gone away’, Martin told AAP.
“Well today is like Christmas because he’s finally gone away.
“The anchor has been cut and we’ve finally cut him loose so that’s the last we will hear of him and rugby.”
Martin said he wasn’t concerned that RA had to apologise to Folau as part of the settlement but felt there were still questions over chief executive Raelene Castle’s handling of the matter.
“That’s lawyer stuff – they wanted that and to reach a settlement everyone had to give a bit of ground and Australian rugby union (RA) had to give a lot of money so that’s the way it’s gone,” he said.
“There will be a bit of digging going on as to what happened with his contract that it wasn’t water-tight so we couldn’t sack him after he’d done it (posted) once.”
The settlement doesn’t appear to have opened the door for Folau to return to playing football, in any code.
In the joint statement there was no comment from RA about his playing future while Folau also didn’t mention his next career move after stints in league, AFL and then rugby.
A spokesman for Folau said that he wouldn’t be making any immediate comment about his future, while RA said the 30-year-old wouldn’t be playing rugby in Australia again under the current administration.
Folau’s most recent comments, linking the current bushfires to gay marriage, immediately put him offside with new Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys.
His predecessor Peter Beattie had already said Folau would not be welcome in the NRL and V’landys backed that stance, saying he had zero tolerance for the ex-Storm and Broncos star’s anti-gay messages.
A future in French rugby is also unlikely with outspoken owner of rugby club Toulon, Mourad Boudjellal, labelling Folau a “moron”.