Israel Folau lashes out at Rugby Australia in leaked letter

Former Wallabies star Israel Folau has hit out at Rugby Australia (RA) in a letter addressed to its board days after launching legal proceedings against the governing body.

The letter demands answers as to how the media gained access to the sworn testimony and confidential proceedings of his code of conduct hearing.

The 30-year-old had his multimillion-dollar deal with RA torn up after being found guilty of a high-level breach of the organisation's code of conduct for his homophobic social media posts, including an Instagram post in April that condemned drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters to hell.

Ironically, that letter has also been leaked to the media with The Daily Telegraph publishing it in full.

Folau's lawyers filed an application at the Australian Fair Work Commission on Thursday, and are seeking a declaration that his employment was unfairly terminated.

"I would like an explanation as to why recent detailed media articles about me have revealed aspects of confidential sworn testimony and witness statements from the Rugby Australia Code of Conduct Tribunal," Folau wrote.

"This is blatantly unfair. As you know, the Tribunal hearing must be closed and private, and Rugby Australia was obliged to keep all information confidential.

"I would like to know why Rugby Australia has not managed to maintain the integrity of its processes and ensure that information was kept private and confidential.

"I feel like the way the hearing and related matters have been described in the media has been unfair and misleading. For example, I am not 'sick of rugby' and whoever told the media that I am is telling lies.

"Another example is the way the media has been told that your 'expectations' were made clear to me by Ms Castle. We all know that that is far from the truth."

The letter was emailed to RA chief executive Raelene Castle and each of the 10 directors.

RA put out a statement after the leak to the media.

"While we accept that a PR firm has been engaged to coordinate a media campaign to promote the legal action taken against Rugby Australia, we are disappointed that this campaign is impacting on the work done by the thousands of volunteers who are delivering great experiences for the rugby community and also that it has taken the focus away from a crucial Australian Super Rugby derby, being played by Israel's former team tonight," the statement read.

"Rugby Australia has acted with complete professionalism and integrity at all times through the process in which Mr Folau was found by an independent three-member tribunal panel to have made multiple, serious breaches of the Professional Players Code of Conduct.

"While we will continue to respond to any legal action as required and will continue to defend the values that underpin our game and the work done by the hard-working volunteers, we will not engage in a running media commentary."

On Thursday, Folau's younger brother John was granted immediate release by the Waratahs after requesting to leave in protest over the sacking of the 62-test Wallabies veteran.

Australia Correspondent Jason Morrison spoke to The AM Show.

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