Former rugby star Israel Folau has announced he has “no regrets” as he stages his comeback, aiming to sign to an amateur club two years after he was sacked from the Wallabies.
Folau was dropped in 2019 for repeatedly breaching the team’s social media policy, posting homophobic comments despite multiple warnings.
The former Player of the Year has not played professionally in Australia since, and nothing since 2019 currently appears on his social media accounts, other than a single Instagram post.
He announced this week that he plans to sign to the Southport Tigers club, which is sponsored by eccentric mining magnate Clive Palmer, Pink News has reported.
“No regrets at all in life… from, you know, my faith in God, everything happens for a reason,” Folau told a press conference.
“I’m just grateful for that opportunity to get back on the field.”
Folau drew controversy in 2019 for posts stating that “hell” awaited gay people and that trans children were Satan’s doing.
He was criticised again last year for claiming that the national bushfire crisis was related to marriage equality.
In response to Tasmania’s introduction of gender-optional birth certificates and a simpler process to change legal gender, Folau tweeted: “The devil has blinded so many people in this world. Repent and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free.”
He said this week that he stands by his faith and his comments about LGBTIQ people.
“Every written word that’s written in [the Bible], I stand by that,” he said.
Palmer voiced his support for Folau, saying that his commitment to the player was “rock solid”.
“I would pledge every cent, every dollar, and every waking moment of my time to ensure that he takes the field again,” said Palmer.
Folau’s signing to the amateur club is contingent on approval by the Queensland Rugby League.
He attempted earlier this year to sign with the St George Illawarra Dragons but was thwarted by backlash from sponsors and fans.