Wallabies captain unfazed about Folau


Israel Folau’s latest homophobic comment has placed pressure on Rugby .National and state captain Michael Hooper is confident Israel Folau’s controversial religious beliefs won’t divide the Wallabies or the NSW Waratahs.

Folau faces a grilling from Rugby boss Raelene Castle and Waratahs chief Andrew Hore following his latest provocative social media post claiming gay people will go to hell unless they repent their sins and turn to God.

“We’re a diverse group. We come from many different lands and we’re different individuals but we share the same common goal of wanting to be the best and represent our friends and family and fans as a team,” Hooper said from Tokyo on the eve of the Waratahs’ Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves.

“We’ve got games to play and, regardless of what happens outside, we’ve got to do our best in the games and they come around each week and that’s the focus of the guys over here.

“It’s week to week for us. Tomorrow is all gearing up for the Sunwolves.”

With Castle and Hore to speak with Folau about his online conduct, Hooper said he didn’t feel the need to have to personally sound out ‘s three-times John Eales Medallist.

“I saw the statement from them. They’ll talk to him about that,” the flanker said.

“We’re all different people and have different religious beliefs and everyone is entitled to them.”

With Qantas, Rugby ‘s major sponsor, under pressure from fans to take action against the Wallabies because of Folau’s social media posts, Castle said the national and state governing bodies were treating the matter seriously.

“Israel’s comment reflects his personal religious beliefs, however it does not represent the view of Rugby or NSW Rugby,” she said in a statement.

“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.

“We understand that Israel’s comment has upset a number of people and we will discuss the matter with him as soon as possible.”

Folau’s latest post comes six months after he tweeted he opposed gay marriage which puts RA in a difficult predicament.

The 62-Test star is off contract at the end of 2018, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika desperate to secure his attacking trump card for next year’s World Cup in Japan.

Negotiations are sure to be delicate now that Folau has seemingly contravened RA’s inclusion policy.

“Rugby has and must continue to be a sport where players, officials, volunteers, supporters and administrators have the right and freedom to participate regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion and without fear of exclusion,” the policy states.

“There is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words both on and off the field must reflect this.”

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