Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

16.36 15 Apr 2019


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Australia head coach Michael Cheika was refusing to give Israel Folau another chance following his latest homophobic social media post, even before the star player's sacking today by Rugby Australia.

Folau - a staunch Christian - posted statements on Instagram and Twitter last week claiming that hell awaits homosexuals, just a year after he made other homophobic comments on social media.

"You know, we had a discussion after the last time," revealed Cheika on Monday, "And made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that, if that's what he wants. [He's] meant to be part of the team."

"But that getting out in that disrespectful manner, publicly, is not what our team is about."

Cheika, the former Leinster head coach, had ruled the 30-year-old back out of selection for the Wallabies Rugby World Cup squad in Japan this Autumn and explained his reasons why.

"When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia. Everyone.

"Everyone that's out there supporting us, we don't pick and choose. We want everyone on that wagon with us to the World Cup, for example, or in the Bledisloe Cup. We want everyone there fighting with us and standing with us."

Folau remains unrepentant over the post and indicated in comments to the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend that he is willing to sacrifice his playing career over his beliefs.

"Whatever His will is, whether that's to continue playing or not, I'm more than happy to do what He wants me to do."

Meanwhile, England international Billy Vunipola was booed when he came off the bench for English club Saracens in their match against Bristol at Ashton Gate.

Vunipola took to social media to offer his support to Folau and his anti-gay stance and but looks set to escape a ban when he meets with the RFU this week to discuss his comments.


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