Israel Folau trains with Catalan Dragons in Perpignan, France on Wednesday (local time). Picture: Catalans Dragons/AP
Israel Folau trains with Catalan Dragons in Perpignan, France on Wednesday (local time). Picture: Catalans Dragons/AP

Catalans hold off on unleashing Folau

ISRAEL Folau will have to wait to make his Super League debut after being left out of Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara's 21-man squad for this weekend's game at Wakefield.

The 30-year-old former Wallabies star, whose signing has been criticised by all sections of the sport because of his homophobic views, did not arrive in the country until last weekend.

It's understood that Folau, sacked by Rugby Australia last May after claiming "hell awaits" gay people, will not travel with the squad to Yorkshire.

The former Melbourne and Brisbane NRL star, who has signed a 12-month deal with the French club, has trained all week with his new teammates, but McNamara had warned that it would take time for him to get up to speed with the game.

Folau's last match for the NSW Waratahs was last April and he has not played rugby league since switching codes 10 years ago.

He could make his debut in the Dragons' home game against Castleford on Saturday week.

Wakefield have already made plans to celebrate inclusivity in the sport by inviting LGBT groups to this weekend's match.

Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone this week admitted he had sleepless nights over whether to sanction the signing of Folau and conceded the game "came to the wrong conclusion".

The Rugby Football League said it was powerless to prevent the registration but Super League clubs voted at a meeting in Salford this week to look for ways to tighten up the rules to prevent such a signing in future.

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