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RA accepts Folau meant no harm to rugby with anti-gay remark

17 April 2018

Israel Folau did not intend to cause harm with his anti-gay remarks and he will face no sanctions, Rugby Australia has concluded.

Folau, who is an Evangelical Christian, created a firestorm of controversy in Australia, and in rugby circles, after he wrote on his Instagram page that gays would be condemned to "hell" if they failed to "repent".

The 29-year-old said he was disappointed in the way Monday's meeting with ARU chief executive Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby chief Andrew Hore to discuss his social media use was portrayed to the media by Castle. "That simply isn't true", he said.

Gibson, though, said the Waratahs were hopeful that Folau would remain. There have been rugby offers from the UK, Europe and Japan that are way above anything I could earn in Australia. "He certainly made it clear on his position".

"That's not for me to decide", he said.

"We want Israel to stay in rugby, that's the first thing", Gibson said. Those are questions for Rugby Australia. He enjoys the game and so our immediate concerns are making sure he stays in rugby and that he's happy here.

"I think of it this way: you see someone who is about to walk into a hole and have the chance to save him", he continued.

His comments were described as "very disappointing" by Qantas airlines, a major sponsor of Rugby Australia, while worldwide referee Nigel Owens, who came out as gay in 2007, said such comments could contribute to young people taking their own lives.

"He made it really clear where those beliefs are so dear to him and why he's articulating them".

The Sydney Morning Herald has since been told that Folau will escape punishment, with Castle understood to be satisfied with the "respectful" tone of the column.

Folau's contract expires at the end of the season.

His comments were described as "very disappointing" by Qantas airlines, a major sponsor of Rugby Australia, while global referee Nigel Owens, who came out as gay in 2007, said such comments could contribute to young people taking their own lives.

"I feel I need to explain this part in more detail because at no stage over the past two weeks have I wanted that to happen".

"I haven't had an opportunity to talk to the team but certainly it's something in the future that I want to do".

"I fronted the cover of the Star Observer magazine to show my support for the Bingham Cup, which is an worldwide gay rugby competition for both men and women".

"I've played 50-odd games with him now and it's a pretty special feeling running through the sheds and going into the stadium when you've got Israel Folau behind you", Robertson said. I know a lot of people will find that hard to understand, but I believe the Bible is the truth and sometimes the truth can be hard to hear.

RA accepts Folau meant no harm to rugby with anti-gay remark