Israel Folau settlement an early Christmas gift for Australian rugby - Former Wallaby

An anchor has been cut from rugby in Australia, with the conclusion of the Israel Folau saga, says former Wallabies test star, turned commentator Greg Martin.

On Wednesday, Rugby Australia and Folau issued a joint statement, after reaching a confidential settlement, with both parties apologising for their actions.

The matter has hung over the sport for the past seven months, since Folau was sacked from his $4m four-year contract for inflammatory social media posts, and Martin is thrilled to see the end of it.

Martin says Folau has dragged rugby down through the Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Championship and last month's World Cup in Japan.

"Every time there's good news [surrounding Australian rugby], Izzy has stuck his head up and said, 'I want more money, I'm still suing, I haven't gone away', Martin told AAP.

"Well, today is like Christmas, because he's finally gone away. The anchor has been cut and we've finally cut him loose, so that's the last we will hear of him and rugby."

Martin says he isn't concerned that RA has had to apologise to Folau as part of the settlement, but feels there are still questions over chief executive Raelene Castle's handling of the matter.

"That's lawyer stuff," he said. "They wanted that and to reach a settlement, everyone had to give a bit of ground and Australian rugby union (RA) had to give a lot of money, so that's the way it's gone.

"There will be a bit of digging going on as to what happened with his contract that it wasn't water-tight, so we couldn't sack him, after he'd done it [posted] once."

The settlement doesn't appear to have opened the door for Folau to return to football - in any code.

In the joint statement, RA made no comment about his playing future, while Folau also didn't mention his next career move, after stints in league, AFL and then rugby.

A spokesman for Folau said he wouldn't make any immediate comment about his future, while RA said the 30-year-old wouldn't play rugby in Australia again under the current administration.

Folau's most recent comments, linking the current bushfires to gay marriage, immediately put him offside with new Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys.

His predecessor, Peter Beattie, had already said Folau would not be welcome in the NRL and V'landys backed that stance, saying he had zero tolerance for the ex-Storm and Broncos star's anti-gay messages.

A future in French rugby is also unlikely, with outspoken Toulon club owner Mourad Boudjellal labelling Folau a "moron".


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