Saturday 13th April 2019

Myles McDevitt – UCFB Multimedia Sports Journalism Student

Israel Folau last week made headlines by becoming Super Rugby’s all-time top try scorer. Then within a space of the week his $4 million contract with Rugby Australia is to be terminated because of social media posts.

On Wednesday, Folau shared a post on his Instagram account that suggested that ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers’ amongst many other things should go to hell. He then used his Twitter account to criticise the Tasmanian Parliament which has made it optional to put gender on birth certificates.

Rugby Australia had warned about his posts on social media a year ago and this time it is the final straw. Folau’s contract ripped to shreds and his career in both codes in Rugby all but over after the NRL chief said he wouldn’t be allowed back into the sport of Rugby League.

Folau is explosive, dynamic and scintillating to watch for the Wallabies. However, his bigoted views have cost him a chance to play in this year’s World Cup where Australia desperately need him. Australia made the final last time but yesterday their odds drifted to 16-1 with one bookmaker. They find themselves in a pool which includes Grand Slam champions Wales and Fiji.

It’s a pool Australia should get out of but could face difficulties beyond the group in the knockout phase. That’s where Folau can really excel with his burning pace causing a nightmare for defences.

The rugby world has been quick to distance itself from Folau and rightly so. He is a role model for young athletes. He should know better than to commit such acts after getting warnings from Rugby Australia a year ago relating to similar media posts like the one, he did this week.

Australia face a mountain to climb this year now especially without one of their star players.

Folau’s reputation tarnished. A man that put his views before his career and paid the ultimate price.