Wallabies vice-captain Will Genia has slammed international teammate Israel Folau and believes he’s played his final Test alongside the controversial star.
Rugby Australia issued Folau a breach of contract notice following repeated homophobic social media posts, but the 30-year-old will fight for his career at a code of conduct hearing next week.
Genia admits teammates will struggle to play alongside Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer if the NSW fullback successfully overturns his sacking.
Folau vowed to walk away from the game if Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle felt the situation became untenable and he has been labelled a hypocrite for calling the hearing.
Genia said Folau was being selfish and emphasised the Wallabies could still win the World Cup this year without arguably their best player.
Continue reading below…
“You can have your beliefs and have faith … but you can’t go around trying to tell people they’ll be going to hell because they are a certain way, for me that’s completely wrong,” Genia told the Fox Sports’ Rugby Podcast.
“I certainly think it makes it a bit uncomfortable for people within both those teams (NSW and Australia) and environments to sort of relate to him and moving forward maybe even play with him.
“I’m probably resigned to the fact I won’t play with him again.
“If you’ve gone and said those things (walk away from the game) to (Wallabies coach Michael) Cheika and Raelene, there’s a breach of trust and I guess there’s an element of selfishness about it.”
Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels predicts Folau’s rugby career will soon be over and says the sport will be poorer for his absence.
Wessels takes no pleasure from the absence of a player he rates as a modern great from Saturday’s derby in Sydney, where the Australian conference-leading Rebels will tackle the Waratahs.
Folau has been stood down by the Waratahs, replaced at fullback by Kurtley Beale.
“He’s a hell of a player. For him to be lost to Australian rugby is sad,” Wessels told reporters.
“I don’t know him personally … but what I do know is that he’s the No.1 try-scorer in the history of Super Rugby. He’s probably one of the leading entertainers in the game in the world.
“I just don’t think there’s any winners out of it. I certainly don’t think rugby’s won out of it.”
Wessels suspects Folau’s absence and all the controversy surrounding may prove to be a galvanising force for the Waratahs this week.
He said he would take that angle if he was in the same position as counterpart Daryl Gibson
“But the reality is they’ve lost an absolutely world class player there. It’s not just for one or two games, it’s forever. It’s sad.”
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.