Israel Folau will return to Rugby League to play for Tonga after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for posts on social media.
Folau had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in April, with the 30-year-old – a devout Christian – having expressed views which breached the team’s code of conduct on his official channels.
He posted “hell awaits… drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”.
The Wallabies and club side New South Wales Waratahs sacked Folau in May.
However, Folau – who in July opened court proceedings against his former employers – has now announced his return to rugby, albeit in a cross-code switch to League, the sport in which he made his name with NRL sides Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos.
I confirm I have commenced court proceedings against Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs. Thank you to those who have supported me over this journey – it has meant so much to Maria and me. God bless. pic.twitter.com/Ojgw9uRw79
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) July 31, 2019
Folau, if fit, will be in Tonga’s squad for Tests against the Great Britain Lions in Hamilton on October 26 and the November 2 against Australia in the Oceania Cup.
“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to represent God, my family, my heritage and the people of Tonga,” said Folau in a statement released by the Tongan National Rugby League.
“I don’t want to bring any of my personal matters into this and I am grateful that the RLIF [Rugby League International Federation] have endorsed my availability.
“What I will do now is focus on playing great rugby league and do my talking on the field.”
Tonga have also confirmed Folau’s brother John – who quit Super Rugby side the Waratahs earlier this year – has been called up.
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