Israel Folau’s future to be decided at ‘code of conduct’ hearing

The future of Wallabies full-back Israel Folau will be decided at a ‘code of conduct’ hearing next month.

Israel Folau says he will stand by his comments. Picture: PA.

Rugby Australia has set 4 May as the date for the inquiry into anti-gay comments posted by Folau on social media.

The hearing could result in the termination of his Test and Super Rugby contracts.

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An additional day has been set aside in case it is needed.

Folau was charged with a code of conduct breach after he posted on social media that gay people, along with other “sinners,” will face damnation unless they repent.

He will appear in front of a three-person panel chaired by Sydney lawyer John West. The panel also includes Rugby Australia representative Kate Eastman and Rugby Union Players Association representative John Boultbee.

Justin Gleeson, the former solicitor-general of Australia, will be Rugby Australia’s counsel at the hearing.

Folau, 30, is a devout Christian and posted similar comments last year but escaped punishment and in February he signed a new deal with Rugby Australia until 2022.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has already said he would not be able to pick the full-back because of his comments.

“We had a discussion after the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that, if that’s what he wants, to be part of the team,” Cheika said last week.

“But getting it out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team is about.

“When you play in the gold jersey we represent everyone in Australia, everyone. Everyone that is out there supporting us, we don’t pick and choose.”

Folau has been a regular for the Wallabies since switching to rugby union from Australian Rules in 2013, and his absence would be a big blow to Cheika at this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The Waratahs player has said he will stand by his comments, even if that means having to give up rugby.