International Gay Rugby praise action taken against Israel Folau

Israel Folau faces the sack after being issued with a “high-level” breach notice over controversial social media posts he made on April 10

Leading Test rugby referee Nigel Owens has described Israel Folau's religious views as narrow minded and potentially "very, very hurtful" to a lot of people.

In an interview with British radio station talkSPORT, the Welshman was highly critical of Folau reasserting his homophobic beliefs in social media posts last week.

Now a pundit on Fox Sports, Drew Mitchell has all but called his former Australia and NSW Waratahs colleague a hypocrite, posting on Twitter Folau's comments from previous year saying he would walk away from the game if Rugby Australia found his position untenable.

Raelene Castle, chief executive of Rugby Australia, said Folau had been warned in the past about his social media posts.

Wallabies superstar Israel Folau has requested a code of conduct hearing over his breach notice from Rugby Australia (RA) as his multi-million dollar contract hangs in the balance.

A statement from RA said: "Israel has responded formally today to request a code of conduct hearing which, under the circumstances, was not an unexpected outcome".

Once the date has been set, Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union will not comment on the matter until the proceedings have wrapped up.

The hearing, before representatives of Rugby Australia, the professional players association and an independent figure, is likely to be delayed by a series of public holidays over the next two weeks, extending the headache for the sport's leaders in Australia.

Folau will be able to state his case in a bid to keep his job playing for Australia.

Castle and Rugby Australia's processes were again questioned Wednesday after The Daily Telegraph reported that Folau's contract had no specific clause about social media use and speculated it could be used as a defence against his sacking.

A former club and country team-mate of Israel Folau has issued a stinging put-down following the full-back's decision to challenge his attempted sacking by Rugby Australia. The 30-year old included homosexuals among his list of "sinners", but in 2014 he had helped promote the Bingham Cup, the biennial world championship of gay and inclusive rugby, which that year was held in Sydney.

Folau - who has played at an elite level in three different football codes - had said in February that playing in the tournament was a key reason why he had re-signed with the Wallabies and Waratahs.

The Super League could, however, be a potential avenue for Folau, with foxsports.com.au reporting he could make a return to the code after all.

I've refereed those players (Vunipola and Folau) in the past and they've treated me with respect every time. "Reading what he said after it, there's no apology, I just can't see a way back for him and I think that's quite sad to be honest with you".

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