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Folau made promise last year he would stand aside for good of game

Rugby Australia is taking a keen interest in comments made last year by Israel Folau to chief execut..

By Sunday Herald Team , in Sports , at April 13, 2019

Rugby Australia is taking a keen interest in comments made last year by Israel Folau to chief executive Raelene Castle that he would walk away from the game without hesitation if his religious beliefs were causing the code immense damage.

As RA maintained its intention to follow through with sacking Folau for another anti-gay social media post that has mired the sport in controversy again, Folau's comments last year are at odds with the Wallabies star's actions during the current crisis.

Israel Folau told Rugby Australia this time last year he would walk away from the game if his religious views were harming the game.

Israel Folau told Rugby Australia this time last year he would walk away from the game if his religious views were harming the game. Credit:AAP

On Friday it emerged Folau would fight to save his rugby career after posting an image saying homosexuals, among others, would go to hell unless they were to repent, and the Sun-Herald understands RA officials are perplexed as to why the games biggest name would not stand himself down.

After a meeting with Castle and NSW Rugby Union boss Andrew Hore last year following his first controversial homophobic slur, Folau wrote a first-person column for Players Voice dated April 16, 2018 and went into detail about the exchange.

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"After wed all talked, 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 couldnt be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately," Folau wrote.

"I do not want to bring hurt to the game and want as many people playing it as possible. So when I spoke to Raelene about walking away, it was to help the game, not harm it, in the event we couldnt come to an understanding.

"It was never my intention to hurt anyone with the Instagram comment, but that I could never shy away from who I am, or what I believe.

"They explained their position and talked about external pressure from the media, sponsors and different parts of the community, which I understand.

"I acknowledge Raelene and Andrew have to run things in a way that appeals broadly to their executive, fans and sponsors, as well as its players and staff. It is a business."

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