Israel Folau returns to rugby league

This story appears on RNZ.co.nz

Sacked former Australian rugby international Israel Folau has announced he’s returning to rugby league with Gold Coast team Southport Tigers.

The former dual-code international saw his Rugby Australia contract terminated in 2019 after he refused to take down a controversial social media post in which he said “hell awaits” gay people.

Folau reached an out of court settlement with Rugby Australia before moving to France to play rugby league in the Super League with Catalans.

Folau said his comments had nothing to do with playing the game and he had no regrets.

Catalans have indicated that they will demand compensation to release Folau from his contract, which runs until the end of 2021.

He could play for the club as soon as next week but his registration with Queensland Rugby League is still pending.

Folau, whose two brothers currently play at the Tigers, said that he was “grateful for this opportunity”.

“I’m just grateful for that opportunity to get back on the field and put the boots back on. I’m excited.”

St George Illawarra made a bid to bring Folau back into the NRL earlier this season, but withdrew the application after a backlash from sponsors and supporters.

-ABC

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