15 Apr 2019

Israel Folau sacked, given 48-hours to appeal

6:36 pm on 15 April 2019

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau has 48 hours to decide his future after being handed an official code of conduct breach notice by Rugby Australia.

Israel Folau in action for the Wallabies.

Israel Folau in action for the Wallabies. Photo: PhotoSport

Rugby Australia intends to terminate his contract following his social media post on Twitter and Instagram last week, which proclaimed homosexuals, drunks and atheists, among others, would go to hell unless they repented.

Folau was today served with a breach notice over the posts.

In a statement, Rugby Australia said its integrity unit deemed that Folau had committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct warranting termination of his employment contract.

Folau has 48 hours to accept the sanction or have the matter referred to a code of conduct hearing.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said Folau had failed to meet his obligations.

"We appreciate this matter will attract significant interest but due process must be followed," she told reporters on Monday afternoon.

"Israel had 48 hours to accept the sanction or have the matter sent to a code of conduct hearing."

Castle said Folau had been unapologetic about the posts and his stance when she met with him last Friday.

That came after he had been warned, formally and repeatedly about social media expectations after he made similar posts about a year ago.

"It was made clear to Israel in writing and verbally when I met with him last year that any social media posts or commentary that in any way were disrespectful to people because of their sexuality would result in disciplinary action," Castle said.

"Despite this Israel has chosen to ignore this warning."

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.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said earlier that Folau's "disrespectful" comments would currently make it impossible to pick the superstar for Australia at this year's Rugby World Cup.

"Getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team's about. When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia - everyone. Everyone that's out there supporting us. We don't pick and choose," Cheika said.

Cheika fronted the media alongside Wallabies and NSW Waratahs captain Michael Hooper and Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson.

Asked if he would be comfortable taking the field again alongside Folau, flanker Hooper said "In this current state and being here and talking about this as a rugby player, it makes it hard, it makes it difficult.

"You take your friends warts and all, and your teammates,' Hooper added.

"It's frustrating having to stand here here because I can't speak for Israel, but it is part of the team celebrating our diversity and celebrating that in a respectful manner."

Cheika said he had tried unsuccessfully to contact Folau for an explanation.

"I felt that I needed to talk to him about why, and I haven't had that chance as yet. I'm sure I will in the future at some stage when it settles down for him a little bit.

"I made the calls and left the messages. There's no beef."