Israel Folau, the former Australian rugby star who has been embroiled in controversy over recent years, is scheduled to play for the World XV against the Barbarians at Twickenham later this month. Folau will be joined in the backline by the likes of Charles Piutau, Semi Radradra and Marika Koroibete, making for a thoroughly exciting backline.
Folau is widely regarded as one of the most talented rugby players of his generation, having made a name for himself thanks to his speed, skill, and athleticism on the field. However, Folau has also been a controversial figure in recent years due to his outspoken views on social and political issues. In 2019, he was sacked by Rugby Australia following a series of controversial social media posts, in which he was deemed to have made homophobic and transphobic remarks.
Always happy to ruffle a couple of feathers, Joe Marler made his feelings clear at the time by tweeting Folau a picture of two men kissing:
Now, playing alongside many of his former England counterparts, Marler will line up against the former Wallaby in a showstopping occasion.
The decision to select Folau has divided opinion among rugby fans and commentators. While some have praised the Barbarians for prioritizing talent over controversy, others have criticized the move as a tacit endorsement of Folau’s controversial views.
Whatever the case, there is no denying that Folau’s selection for the Barbarians will make for an interesting storyline in the world of rugby. With his talent and skill on the field, he is sure to make an impact in the match, and fans will be watching closely to see how he performs.
Charles Piutau is full of excitement for the upcoming occasion: “These sorts of games are always great occasions to be a part of. It’s about the chance to take to the field with other players you never would get the chance to normally,’ said Piutau, formerly of New Zealand who like Folau has switched allegiance to Tonga.
“It’s nice to get to know guys in that aspect. To line up in a match between the World XV and the Barbarians means it should be a cracking game. I’m looking forward to it.
“Hopefully it will be about expressing ourselves. There will be a lot of talent involved by the looks of it. I’ve played for the Barbarians twice.
“I had the opportunity to choose one or the other this time but I think it’s quite rare to be able to play for a World XV so it will be nice to experience that.
“I had the option of either one. I’ve never played for a World XV before so I went with that one.
“This time for my name to be considered and to get an invite for a World XV is definitely special.
“I think it’s one of those things I’ll look back on when my career is over and think it was awesome I got to do that.”
Barbarians Danny Care, Dan Cole, André Esterhuizen, Alun Wyn Jones, Joe Marler, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Sam Simmonds, Rhys Webb, Talupe Faletau, Steven Luatua, Aaron Cruden.
World XV Charles Piutau, Ngani Laumape, Nick Phipps, Marika Koroibete, Semi Radradra, Joe Launchbury, Danilo Fischetti, Simone Ferrari, Lorenzo Cannone, Rhys Patchell, Adam Hastings, Elliot Dee, Bill Mata, Israel Folau (expected).