The intrigue over Wallabies’ star Israel Folau’s code of conduct hearing may extend beyond the third day, which isn’t expected to deliver a result.
The hearing will resume on Tuesday at a venue in the Sydney CBD, after the first two days were conducted at Rugby Australia headquarters.
It’s not yet known who will appear at the hearing on Tuesday.
The story featuring one of the nation’s highest profile sports stars and his controversial social media posts has gripped Australia in recent weeks.
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“The short answer is no. I think there’s a bit of a political thing going on at the moment over here so there’s a fair bit of that stuff around but not really (Izzy),” Folau’s Waratahs and Wallabies teammate Ned Hanigan said in a teleconference from South Africa.
Folau has missed the Waratahs’ last three game since being stood down by the NSW Rugby Union.
The Tahs have lost their last two, but Hanigan was adamant the issue wasn’t proving a distraction for them.
“Being away, as a team on tour, you’re always galvanised together and you just focus on the job getting done,’ Hanigan said.
“Speaking on the distraction back home a little bit, if we call it that, there’s a code of conduct process that’s still ongoing so there isn’t much more to say. That process needs to be undertaken so I think as a team we know that.
“As a team we’re sort of pretty focused on the job.”
Among the major rugby figures to appear before the hearing so far are RA chief executive officer Raelene Castle, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and NSWRU boss Andrew Hore.
The three-person panel has listened to more than 15 hours of legal arguments so far. Late on Monday RA said the panel was unlikely to reach a verdict on Tuesday.
Folau reportedly rejected a $1 million offer to walk away from Australian rugby last week and is fighting to save the multi-million dollar, four-year contract he signed earlier this year.
The dual international and code hopper was hit with a “high-level” breach notice last month and threatened to tear up his four- year, $4 million contract following his latest round of inflammatory social media posts.
Folau’s solicitor Ramy Quatami and barrister Adam Casselden have argued that Folau’s Instagram post claiming hell awaits homosexuals and other sinners unless they repent and turn to Jesus was merely a bible passage and not his direct words.
They also put foot forward the fact that RA didn’t include a specific social media clause when the John Eales Medallist signed a new contract in February.
But after being formally warned last year when he posted similar passages claiming gays were destined for hell, RA’s legal unit believes the 30-year-old has breached both the player code of conduct and its social media policies.
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