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Wednesday Apr 10, 2019

Huge backlash on Israel Folau comments as fans anxiously wait for Rugby Australia to take action

Less than a week after becoming Super Rugby’s highest try-scorer, Israel Folau has grabbed the headlines again for a post on Instagram.

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The fullback shared a post that has proven to be as controversial, if not more, than similar comments made last year. This is what he said:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

The description said “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.” plus a whole lot more.

As expected, there has been a monumental backlash on social media, as thousands of fans have joined the veritable tidal wave demanding for action to be taken. Many fans are calling for the 30-year-old to be banned by the Wallabies after these comments, as he has overstepped the mark again in their eyes.

Furthermore, some fans are saying that they will no longer support Australia if Folau continues to play for them, saying that this will be disastrous for Australia’s dwindling rugby following already.

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https://twitter.com/SaffaKyle/status/1115956414080475136

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Despite lots of sentiment that Folau should be banned from Australian rugby, many are sceptical that anything will happen. Folau got himself in trouble for a similar outburst last year and went unpunished, and many expect the same to happen again.

Rugby Australia have said that these comments are “unacceptable”, but nothing has happened thus far.

This is because the Waratah is widely regarded as the best player in Australia currently, perhaps alongside David Pocock, and Rugby Australia would effectively be afraid to sack him.

With the World Cup less than six months away, Folau is undoutedly the Wallabies’ best chance of achieving at the tournament, and therefore the fans feel that nothing will be done to upset him.

Michael Cheika’s team have been poor over the past 12 months, and the former league man is one of the team’s only shining lights heading into the showcase in Japan.

Although many fans feel that he should be punished regardless of whether this is a World Cup year or not, they do not have enough faith in Rugby Australia to have the backbone to discipline him. Many on Twitter have effectively said that the ball is in Rugby Australia’s court, asking for them to act accordingly. 

Some have defended Folau’s statements, saying that he has the right to say what he has. However, those comments have been subsumed by the criticism aimed at Folau, and those defending him have also faced a backlash.

Rugby Australia was in a very similar position this time last year, and while they are dealing with one of the best players in the world, the general feeling is that action needs to be taken.

Joe Marler had perhaps the most subtle and amusing response, when he tweeted this earlier today.

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