Israel Folau had an impressive rugby league career before joining the AFL. Picture: Getty
Israel Folau had an impressive rugby league career before joining the AFL. Picture: Getty

Israel Folau may get lifeline from England

ISRAEL Folau could be offered a return to rugby league in Super League.

Folau has been issued a breach notice and is set to be sacked by the Australian Rugby Union after posting on social media that "hell awaits" gay people.

The Australian Rugby League Commission insisted no NRL club would be able to sign the dual-code international, who played for the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, and AFL team the GWS Giants, before ending up in the 15-a-side code.

But SunSport did not receive such a firm promise from neither the Rugby Football League nor Super League.

As such, any club could offer the 30-year-old a contract in the English games.

Both bodies said disgraced Ben Barba would not be allowed to sign after he was turfed out of the NRL for allegedly assaulting his partner.

But it was not such a hard line in the case of Folau, who shared an image warning drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters that "hell awaits you".

An RFL spokesman said: "The RFL board has ultimate discretion to refuse to register a player where it may bring the game into disrepute or he has been deregistered by any other governing body."

And a Super League statement read: "Player registrations are a governing body issue and we will continue to work with the RFL to ensure the integrity of the competition is maintained."

England rugby No.8 Billy Vunipola has been formally warned about his future conduct by his club side Saracens after defending Folau's anti-gay Instagram post.

"He made a serious error of judgment in publicly sharing his opinion," Saracens said of Vunipola, "which is inconsistent with the values of the club and contravenes his contractual obligations."

England star Billy Vunipola warned by Saracens over his ‘support’ for Folau. Picture: AP
England star Billy Vunipola warned by Saracens over his ‘support’ for Folau. Picture: AP

In a statement on the club's website, Vunipola said his "intention was never to cause suffering", but he stopped short of offering an apology.

"My intention was to express my belief in the word of God," Vunipola said. "These beliefs are a source of great strength, comfort and guidance in my life. This is deeply personal and does not represent the views of my team."

 - With AP


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