Israel Folau may have to wait for crunch hearing

Israel Folau in action for the Wallabies. More

Embattled winger Israel Folau has opted to contest his breach notice from Rugby Australia.

It was criticised by politicians, rugby stars and fans across the world.

The controversy started April 10 when Folau - who is known for his Christian faith - posted an image on Instagram that referenced Scripture and read, "Warning".

"I told Raelene, if she felt the situation had become untenable - that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn't be worked through, I would walk away from my contract, immediately", Folau wrote a year ago.

Rugby Australia says it will now make arrangements with the Rugby Union Players' Association to organise the hearing.

Wallabies star Israel Folau has requested a code of conduct hearing over his breach notice issued by Rugby Australia, after he made a controversial social media post claiming that "hell awaits all sinners", including homosexuals.

RA chief executive Raelene Castle has said Folau was warned formally and repeatedly a year ago about the expectation of him as a Wallabies and Waratahs player in regards to his social media use, following similar controversial posts.

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But following Folau's latest comments, Rugby Australia made it clear his presence in the sport was no longer tenable, while Wallabies coach Michael Cheika declared that he would not pick the player, who just two weeks ago became the leading try-scorer in Super Rugby.

"At the end of the day, either Israel Folau will stay standing or Raelene Castle will stay standing", former Wallabies forward Peter FitzSimons, who had called for him to be fired, said told commercial television broadcaster Nine on Wednesday.

Once the date has been set, Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union will not comment on the matter until the proceedings have wrapped up.

Hopoate wrote on Facebook in a since deleted post that he does not know why everyone is "so anxious about what Israel Folau said".

On Sunday he struck a different tone when he told the Sydney Morning Herald that he was ready for life without rugby, saying, "I live for God now".

If he accepted RA's ruling, his contract would be torn up and his professional rugby union career in Australia would be over. But I'd also like him to understand and respect that this is who I am, and I'm glad rugby has allowed me to be who I am.

"I've refereed those players in the past and they've treated me with respect", Owens said. "Reading what he said after it, there's no apology, I just can't see a way back for him and I think that's quite sad to be honest with you".

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