Israel Folau

Israel Folau's Catalans dismiss claims LGBT pride flags were confiscated during match

The French club launched an investigation following complaints by visiting fans that they were ordered to take down their flags, which are a symbol of LGBT pride.

The flags were seen as a protest at the presence of Israel Folau - who was sacked by Rugby Australia for posting homophobic messages on social media last year - as he made his Catalans debut.

But the Dragons insist fans are welcome to display flags at their matches and say one fan was asked to take down a flag during Saturday's game only because it was covering an advertising board.

Six minutes was all it took for Folau to have the Catalan crowd chanting his name

The controversial 30-year-old, who had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia following homophobic remarks last year, has turned to rugby league to get back into professional sport.

His last match of any kind before Saturday’s try-scoring debut for the Perpignan-based Dragons was a Super Rugby game for the Waratahs versus the Blues last April.

Folau slipped into France two weekends ago and Dragons were hopeful he would quickly dust off the cobwebs and get going on the pitch against Castleford. 

Israel Folau reveals he considered quitting rugby after homophobia scandal

The 30-year-old dual-code Australian international will make his first appearance for Catalans Dragons against Castleford at Stade Gilbert Brutus tomorrow.

Folau has not played since being sacked by Rugby Australia last May for posting homophobic comments on social media, and it is a decade since the former Melbourne, Brisbane and Queensland superstar last played rugby league.

"Yes of course I thought about ending my career and to do other things," Folau said in an interview with Perpignan newspaper L'Independant.

'It's going to take him some time': Catalan Dragons unsure on Israel Folau debut date

The 30-year-old dual-code international, whose signing by the French club caused a furore in the game, has been sidelined since being sacked by Rugby Australia last May after claiming "hell awaits" gay people.

But Folau, who switched codes a decade ago, is in his second week of training with his new team-mates and could make his comeback in the French club's home game against Castleford on Saturday.

"We're not sure," Dragons boss Steve McNamara said.

"We didn't take him to Wakefield, we left him here to do some more training, which he completed.

Folau set for home debut

Folau wasn’t selected in Sunday’s squad to face Wakefield in a game that was postponed because of the impact of Storm Caira, but he has been training with his team-mates and coach Steve McNamara has been impressed with his physical condition.

English club threatens legal action over Folau signing

Correspondence delivered last week to Catalans warning them of legal action was sent by Hull KR's owner.

In an email obtained by the BBC, Neil Hudgell wrote to the Dragons to put them "on notice" if his club suffered "financial loss" due to the signing of Folau.

He said: "I reserve my position to take proceedings v Catalans Dragons."

Folau could face SBW in Test but first must force way into Tongan team

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf intends to stay loyal to the players responsible for the rise of the Pacific nation in recent season but confirmed that Folau would be considered for this year's Tests against New Zealand, Fiji and possibly a Williams-inspired Samoa.

The majority of the squad committed to their heritage for the 2017 World Cup and again stuck solid during last year's stand-off with the Tongan National Rugby League.

Folau joins Catalans Dragons

The Super League side announced the arrival of former Australia rugby union international Folau, 30, on Tuesday.

Folau settled a legal dispute with Rugby Australia in December after his contract had been terminated for a "high-level breach" after he posted hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" on Instagram.

Catalans say "any transgression" from Folau will trigger the immediate termination of his deal.

Israel Folau scouted out by Northern Hemisphere club

The Daily Telegraph reports the New York franchise, which joins the British competition this season, made a pitch to Folau in a phone call recently.

The former Wallaby could be joining All Black Sonny Bill Williams in North America.

Rugby Australia and Folau announced an out-of-court settlement late last year following months of fallout stemming from Folau being sacked over his controversial social media posts, which read: “Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.”

Aussie legend warns NRL sides against signing Israel Folau

After Folau and Rugby Australia last week settled their legal dispute, a number of NRL clubs are reportedly now vying to bring the sacked Wallabies fullback back to the 13-man code.

The Broncos have already rejected any notion of bringing Folau back to Suncorp Stadium. However, the prospect of signing the 91-game veteran could prove tempting for a struggling NRL side.

Speaking to Australia's Big Sports Breakfast today, though, Daley outlined why Folau isn't worth the risk for any of his potential suitors to take.