Former Australia star Israel Folau refuses to back down from homophobic remarks

Unrepentant Israel Folau Happy To Give Up Rugby If It Is God’s Will

England No.8 Billy Vunipola has been formally warned about his future conduct by his club Saracens after the No.8 defended Israel Folau's Instagram post.

Castle said all professional rugby players in Australia were bound by the code of conduct and there was a process in place for any disciplinary matter.

"We appreciate this matter will attract significant interest but due process must be followed", Castle told reporters on Monday afternoon. However, Cheika said Folau had "crossed the line" with his latest Instagram post after being told past year similar social media activity would not be tolerated.

Ablett and Kennedy were two of almost 39,000 people who liked Folau's controversial homophobic post which said gay people are going to hell unless they repent.

"I had a meeting with Israel last Friday. and explained the implications of this klind of posting and the grief that it causes and the disrespect that it causes and the harm that it causes for the rugby community", Castle said.

"He accepted that conversation. He shook my hand at the end of that conversation and said he was very clear of it and yet he has gone off and done what he's done".

Cheika was flanked by Daryl Gibson who coaches Folau's Super Rugby team, the New South Wales Waratahs, and Michael Hooper who captains the Wallabies and Waratahs, and who said he would have been reluctant to play beside Folau after his latest comments. "You wouldn't be able to", Cheika said when asked whether he'd be able to select Folau again under the circumstances.

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Cheika conceded Folau had crossed a line that was marked when he made similar tweets a year ago. "We want players and employees that understand the wider value set of Rugby Australia and they can use their large social media followings and their positivity to do so many great things for the sport and 99 per cent of the players do that in this way". Everyone that's out there supporting us. "These comments are really disappointing and clearly don't reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support", a Qantas spokesman said in a statement sent to CNN.

With the 2019 Rugby World cup looming, the decision could not have come at a worse time for the star player, who has made 73 appearances for his country.

"I felt that I needed to talk to him (Folau) about why but I haven't had that chance as yet". I have left messages.

It comes as Folau says it will be "God's will" if his rugby career is ended over his comments that gay people will go to hell unless they repent.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald after a church service yesterday, Folau said his faith is more important to him than rugby.

Folau is unrepentant over the post, which - along with Vunipola's - remains visible, adding that: "I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think". If that's not to continue on playing, so be it.

"Anyone who knows me, knows I live with kindness and love towards ALL people".



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