Rugby Australia blasts Israel Folau over controversial social media posts

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau.
Wallabies fullback Israel Folau. Photo credit: AAP

Rugby Australia has confirmed it is investigating a series of controversial posts made by Wallabies fullback Israel Folau, calling them "unacceptable".

Folau took to social media on Wednesday with more controversial commentary on sexuality and religion.

The 30-year-old first shared his controversial sentiments on Instagram, posting an image claiming "hell awaits homosexuals" and those guilty of other "sins".

He then sent a tweet criticising the Tasmanian parliament, which has become the first Australian state to make it legally optional to list gender on birth certificates.

That led to Rugby Australia issuing a statement blasting the 73-test Wallaby.

"Rugby Australia is aware of a post made by Israel Folau on his Instagram account this afternoon," the governing body said.   

"The content within the post is unacceptable. It does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the rugby community.

"The Rugby Australia Integrity Unit has been engaged on the matter tonight."

Folau's posts come a year after he met with Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle, who asked him to limit his use of social media. One of his previous posts claimed God's plan for gay people was "HELL".

The three-times John Eales Medallist was warned but not sanctioned, after defiantly threatening to walk away from the game if his strong Christian beliefs were compromised.

After his latest antics, Sydney Morning Herald columnist and former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons said Rugby Australia could cut Folau loose despite having just signed a new multimillion-dollar contract extension to remain with the NSW Waratahs until the end of 2022.

"Israel Folau has to go and will go. Quick. Clean. Gone. At least until such times as he repents.

"Rugby Australia simply has no choice. They cannot go through one more time the agony of last year when Folau's social media comments trumpeting that gays would go to hell, saw rugby lose sponsors, fans and support."

Folau's posts drew plenty on criticism on Twitter, including from former Wales international Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009.   

"I don't write this with hate or anger after Israel Folau's comments. I write with sympathy," the 44-year-old wrote.

"To everyone who reads it, don't be influenced by his words. Be the better person and be YOU. Whoever YOU is. Hell doesn't await YOU. Happiness awaits YOU."