Catalan Dragons

LGBT group invited to watch Israel Folau play for his Super League club

The Dragons have invited the Perpignan group to the match against the Salford Red Devils on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

Folau - sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 after he published social media posts warning hell awaits homosexuals - has been the target of protest over his comments which he has claimed stem from his Christian faith.

Catalans were criticised after a Castleford Tigers fan complained stewards tried to stop her bringing a rainbow flag to Folau's first Super League game in Perpignan in February.

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.

'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.