Waratahs winger hitting targets with model partner
ISRAEL Folau's Instagram controversy will have no bearing on his contract negotiations with Rugby Australia, which is desperate to have the star back re-sign for next year's World Cup.
Having outraged many when he wrote on Tuesday night that gays were destined for hell on Tuesday night, Folau will be pressured by RA and the NSW Waratahs to keep his religious beliefs regarding homosexuals off social media.
"Israel's comment reflects his personal religious beliefs, however it does not represent the view of Rugby Australia or NSW Rugby," RA boss Raelene Castle said.
"We are aligned in our view that rugby is a game for all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender, which is clearly articulated in rugby's inclusion policy.
"We understand that Israel's comment has upset a number of people and we will discuss the matter with him as soon as possible."
But that won't stop RA throwing huge dollars at the game's biggest star, who is off contract at the end of this year.
Folau's reaction to his employers' social media edict will be interesting, but it's unlikely he'll want to defect and miss out on the World Cup in Japan, which starts in September next year.
As usual with Folau's contract negotiations, he'll be linked with a return to the NRL and moves to European rugby.
He's played 62 Tests for Australia so would qualify under the Giteau law (which allows overseas-based Australian rugby union players to be eligible to play for Australia) even if he did join a European club.
But those who know Folau say he's not keen on a move abroad now, because his wife Maria Tutaia will remain in New Zealand as she prepares to play for the Kiwis in the netball world cup next year, after which she plans to retire.
Folau is far more likely to pursue overseas opportunities at that point.
Qantas, whose deal as the major sponsor of the Wallabies runs through to the end of 2020, is alarmed at Folau's public comment.
"We've made very clear to Rugby Australia that we find the comments very disappointing," a Qantas spokesman said.
It will consider pulling out of its multi-million sponsorship deal if he makes similar comments again.
Folau came under fire last year for publicly stating he would vote No in the same-sex marriage survey.
The majority of Australians voted to allow the LGBTI community to wed legally.
Ironically, Qantas boss Alan Joyce, who is gay, was one of the most influential advocates of the Yes vote.