Israel Folau

Israel Folau linked with return to rugby union

Folau, a Mormon, split with Australian Rugby in 2019 after he repeatedly posted what were perceived as homophobic religious memes to social media platforms. He was fired and then took Rugby Australia to court and won a multi-million dollar pay out.

Now French rugby publication Midi Olympique are reporting that the former Wallaby superstar, who was rumoured to have declined an approach by Montpellier Herault last year, is coming to the end of his Catalan Dragons contract, sparking fresh interest in French rugby union circles.

Israel Folau at centre of fresh controversy after choosing not to 'take a knee' before Super League match

Folau remained standing while his teammates and the opposition took a knee before kick-off in deference to the Black Lives Matter movement. The move by Folau caused a stir among some journalists covering the game and sparked largely negative responses on social media. He soon began trending on Twitter in the UK.

Guardian journalist Aaron Bower wrote: “St Helens and Catalans players take the knee before kick-off: but noticeably Israel Folau did NOT join the rest of the players in doing so. Wow.”

NRL club sounded out Folau

The Sydney rugby league club was said to have put out the feelers to see if the former Wallabies star would be interested in returning to Australia but were told it was not an option for the 31-year-old.

However, the club did not make a formal offer, the report says.

“Wests Tigers were just feeling out the situation. It didn’t go too far and nothing will come of it,” a source close to Folau was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

Israel Folau has turned down the chance to switch from league into the Top 14

Folau reached a settlement last December with RA over his controversial sacking for writing anti-gay posts on social media. The ex-Wallabies star had been suing for Aus $14million after having his contract terminated last May. A Christian, Folau argued that the termination of his contract was a case of religious discrimination.

Unable to pick up a contract in union amid the fallout in Australia, Folau opted to make the switch to league, hooking up with Catalan Dragons, the French-based SuperLeague club.

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 tipped to take out Super League's 'Man of Steel' award

The 30-year-old former Wallaby made a tryscoring Super League debut for Catalans Dragons in their 36-18 win over Castleford in Perpignan a fortnight ago and promises to be the centre of attention at the KCOM Stadium on Sunday.

"He's an absolute talent, he could be Man of Steel," said Radford.

"He's multi-talented, at league, union, AFL, you can tell he's played AFL by how he jumps, he jumps like Michael Jordan."

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.