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Will O'Callaghan
Will O'Callaghan

13.55 13 Jun 2019


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Israel Folau has been offered an international rugby lifeline by Tonga. 

The full-back had his contracts with both Rugby Australia and club side Waratahs terminated after he posted homophobic comments on social media in April.

The 30-year-old is certainly legal action against Rugby Australia, seeking 10-million Australian dollars in damages as he claims his right to religious freedoms were denied by his former employers.

Folau played 62 times for the Wallabies but could switch to Tonga, the nation of his parents, through a loophole in World Rugby regulations.

He would have to sit out international rugby for three years before taking part in an Olympic sevens qualifying tournament, which would allow him to compete in the 2023 World Cup.

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu, who was capped 60-times by Australia, has told the Sydney Morning Herald that they'd welcome Folau into the fold.

"We'd love to have him ... the next World Cup he'd be available for us hopefully.

"It's a long time away, so we'll let the dust settle a bit after his most recent issues.

"We don't even know if he's going to play again. He hasn't indicated where he is going, so we'll wait until the dust settles and then look at those options.

"He'd have to sit out three years and then even after that we'd have to re-qualify him through a sevens Olympic qualifying tournament."

Folau's brother, John, is expected to be named as part of the Tonga squad for this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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