Israel Folau: Australia players' union to hold religious expression review

Israel Folau
Folau scored 38 tries in 73 Tests for Australia

A review into religious expression from those "with and without strong" beliefs will be held by the Australian Rugby Union Players' Association (Rupa).

It comes after full-back Israel Folau, 30, was sacked by Rugby Australia after saying "hell awaits" gay people in a social media post.

Rupa said it was going to conduct the review as RA did not have rules about players expressing religious views.

"There remains a great deal of work to be done," said a Rupa statement.

"To address this, Rupa will immediately establish and undertake an expression of faith and beliefs review alongside its players, incorporating advice from those with and without strong religious beliefs.

"The aim is to hold a first meeting of the review committee following the conclusion of the Super Rugby and World Rugby Sevens Series seasons.

"We will also invite both a Rugby Australia and a Super Rugby representative to participate in this Rupa-led review, and we wholeheartedly urge them to take us up on this offer of collaboration and to contribute to a landscape with clearly established guidelines for players, which players can have confidence in."

Folau, a fundamentalist Christian, chose not to contest his sacking after a code of conduct hearing upheld the termination of his contract by RA, which meant he could not play for Australia or Super Rugby club side New South Wales Waratahs.

However, he said his decision is "in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel's findings" and he was "considering all potential avenues".

"This is a sad outcome for Israel, his family, friends, team-mates, opponents and all associated with rugby in Australia and around the world," added the Rupa statement.

"Rupa will continue to support Israel to ensure that he, [wife] Maria and their broader family receive any personal support they need in this difficult transition from Australian rugby."

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