Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he won’t pick Israel Folau for this year’s Rugby World Cup, following the player’s anti-gay comments on social media.
Devout christian Folau has been stood down by New South Wales and Rugby Australia intends to terminate his contract following his latest post, which proclaimed homosexuals, drunks and atheists, among others, would go to hell unless they repented.
Folau is standing by comments and has since said what becomes of his rugby career is up to God.
That career looks likely to be outside of Australia, with Cheika saying won’t be playing for the side.
“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.”
“We want everyone on that wagon with us to the World Cup … or a Bledisloe Cup. We want everyone there fighting with us and standing with us.”
Cheika conceded Folau had crossed a line which was marked when the religiously-motivated Folau made similar tweets a year ago.
“We had a discussion at the end of the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that if that’s what he wants,” he said.
Cheika said he had attempted to contact Folau for an explaination several times since the player posted on social media last week.
“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.
“No I haven’t spoken to him.
“I made the calls and left the messages. There’s no beef.”
“If I’m honest my reaction was that we’d had that discussion and that line has been crossed,” Cheika said about Folau’s posts.