Israel Folau: Australia ends rugby player’s contract over anti-gay posts

Israel Folau: Australia ends rugby player’s contract over anti-gay posts

Folau has been all but ever-present in the Wallabies number 15 shirt since switching to rugby union from Australian Rules in 2013, and his absence would be a massive blow to Cheika at this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The posts sparked an instant outcry, as Folau declared that "hell waits" for drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators.

While expressing his admiration for Folau's conviction and declaring the paramount need for freedom of religion in Australia, Houston - who for more than a decade was the National President of the Australian Christian Churches - said his experience showed instilling fear was more likely to alienate people.

While Rugby Australia will sack Folau, 30, for his second anti-gay outburst in a year, and said on Monday he had 48 hours to accept that verdict or face a code-of-conduct hearing, Vunipola has now explained his own views but stopped short of apologising to the LGBT community.

"All professional rugby players in Australia are bound by the Code of Conduct and there is a process in place for any disciplinary matter".

"At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer's policies and procedures and adhere to their employer's values".

Many current players though took to social media to speak out against his comments.

Rugby Australia is expected on Monday to notify Folau he is in breach of his contract, starting the formal disciplinary process which could lead to his sacking.

Earlier on Monday, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika told reporters that Folau's "disrespectful" comments would now make it impossible to pick him in the national team, which is preparing for this year's World Cup in Japan. "But getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team's about". When you play in the gold (Wallabies) jersey, we're representing everyone in Australia.

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Cheika emphasised the importance of the team but also said "everybody has the right to believe (in what they want) and we respect that right".

An RFU spokeswoman said: "Rugby is an inclusive sport and we do not support these views. If that's not to continue on playing, so be it", he said.

I share it with love.

The 30-year-old, a fundamentalist Christian, posted similar comments last year but escaped sanction and signed a new deal with RA through 2022 in February. "But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first", he told the publication.

In a statement on Saracens' website, he said: "I can see that my recent post has hurt people".

"He firmly believes it so he's just missing one piece of the jigsaw puzzle I think".

"NSW Rugby Union has stood down Israel Folau from all player duties with the NSW Waratahs until further notice".

"I can't change what the word of God says".

This is not the first time Folau has fallen foul over his anti-LGBT+ beliefs.

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