Tonga could possibly be set to present Israel Folau a route again into rugby union, with head coach Toutai Kefu saying he has ‘no issues’ over the prospect having the sacked Wallabies star change allegiance.
Folau was kicked out of Australian rugby in 2019 following a collection of controversial social media posts, which included saying hell awaited ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers’, and led to a high-profile arbitration case with Rugby Australia.
Regardless of reaching a settlement, Folau’s status left no room for him in rugby union and led to the 73-Take a look at full-back switching codes to affix Catalan Dragons within the Tremendous League.
Folau, a religious Christian, was reportedly bombarded with homosexual pornography by a few of his former teammates at Catalan Dragons, the place he spent one season earlier than discovering himself with no membership as he does at present.
Whereas the way forward for his membership rugby stays unsure, Folau has been supplied a route again to Take a look at stage by the nation of his start, Tonga.
Head coach Kefu, appointed to a second stint by the Tonga RU final week, has condoned Folau’s previous actions which value him his place on the 2019 Rugby World Cup and mentioned ‘all of us grew up the identical approach’.
“He’s Tongan, he’s a bloody good participant – we’re more than pleased to have him and accommodate him… we’d haven’t any issues,” Kefu advised Radio NZ.
“All of us grew up the identical approach. All of us went to Sunday College after which there’s completely different divisions of faith that all of us grew up in. We actually all assist Israel and his views.”
Folau final featured for the Wallabies on their tour of Europe in 2018 and would want to finish a three-year stand down interval earlier than turning into eligible to play for a rustic the place he holds one other passport.
That timeframe complicates his probabilities of eligibility with the Olympic cycle performing because the conduit by which a participant can change the nation they symbolize.
July’s Olympic qualification match in Monaco acts as the ultimate probability for rugby gamers to vary allegiances, and can come too quickly for Folau’s required stand down time which will probably be accomplished in November by which era a brand new Olympic cycle will probably be underway.
That would go away Folau eligible to modify after taking part in on the 2023 Oceania Sevens Championship, a match which is able to run after the Rugby World Cup held in France that very same 12 months may have concluded.
In the meantime, Kefu has additionally been in talks with Bristol Bears full-back Charles Piutau, Wasps centre Malakai Fekitoa and Clermont Auvergne wing George Moala about representing Tonga.
As of April 2021, Tonga sit thirteenth within the Males’s World Rugby rankings.