Rugby Australia yesterday disputed claims that it had offered Folau about $1 million to walk away from the sport. Pictured: Israel Folau and wife Maria Folau.
Rugby Australia yesterday disputed claims that it had offered Folau about $1 million to walk away from the sport. Pictured: Israel Folau and wife Maria Folau.

Folau’s dad: ‘My son will bow to God’

Israel Folau's father has defended his son's right to publicly express his religious beliefs and said the rugby star would accept the verdict in his contract dispute with Rugby Australia as God's will.

Eni Folau, who leads a Pentecostal service every Sunday at the church attended by the Wallaby fullback, said his son - who spent the weekend at his code of conduct hearing with RA officials - was within his rights to quote from the Bible.

"Israel does not do any wrong at all. All the words he posted up has not come from him, it's come from the Bible. I talked to him, and he said whatever God's decision to his life, he will accept," Mr Folau said.

The code of conduct will stretch into a third day when it resumes in Sydney Tuesday after two days of talks at the weekend, but it may be days before the outcome is known.

Rugby Australia yesterday disputed claims that it had offered Folau about $1 million to walk away from the sport.

While sources privately have admitted attempts were made to settle the case to save both sides from crippling legal bills, they contest the fact that RA initiated any discussions because they had concerns about the strength of their case.

"You obviously have discussions," one source said.

"Both sides will always put offers to each other. That's normal. You are churning through legals [bills]. None of these discussions involved the principals in the conversation. These are pre code of conduct discussions and obviously there is always talk around settlement and they may be talking figures back and forth."

But the source was adamant talk of a $1m settlement was ­"absolutely wrong".

RA directors have told The Australian there had been no discussion or consideration of a settlement offer by the board.

The three-personal panel of John West QC, Kate Eastman SC and John Boultbee heard evidence at the weekend that Folau was warned formally and repeatedly 12 months ago when he first made public reference to homosexuals he must not ever repeat those remarks on social media.

He gave both RA chief executive Raelene Castle and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika assurances he would not bring the code into further disrepute.

However, on April 10 he posted a warning to sinners of many categories, including homosexuals, that they were going to hell unless they turned to God.

Both Ms Castle and NSW Rugby Union CEO Andrew Hore gave oral evidence to the code of conduct hearing yesterday.

Folau declined to comment after the hearing.

News Corp Australia


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