Israel Folau requests Rugby Australia hearing over anti-gay message

Israel Folau in action for the Wallabies
Folau has played professional rugby union, rugby league and Australian rules football

Israel Folau has requested a code of conduct hearing after Rugby Australia ended his contract over a social media post in which he said "hell awaits" gay people.

The 30-year-old had 48 hours to ask for the hearing or accept being sacked.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said Folau's request "was not an unexpected outcome".

She added: "We will now work to confirm a date for the hearing as soon as possible."

Folau has won 73 caps and was expected to play at this year's World Cup in Japan.

"After the date for the hearing is confirmed Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union will make no further comment on the matter until the code of conduct process has concluded," said Castle.

'I live for God now'

Committed Christian Folau last week posted a banner on his Instagram account that read: "Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators - Hell awaits you."

The post remains online and on Sunday the player said he was standing by "what the Bible says".

Following a service at the Truth Of Jesus Christ Church, he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: "I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people's reactions are the total opposite to how I'm sharing it.

"First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that's not to continue on playing, so be it," he added.

"In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I'll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first."

In addition to his rugby union career, Folau has also played professional rugby league and Australian rules football.

Last week, Australian rugby league's governing body ruled out Folau returning to the National Rugby League.external-link

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