Former Wallaby Israel Folau is again trending on Twitter, but this time it’s for an avalanche of praise as opposed to the usual tidal waves of condemnation.

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Never far from controversy, the outcast Australian was heavily criticised seven days ago when he refused to take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter at Headingley. Again, the Catalan Dragons centre remained standing prior to kick-off and he was even joined by a teammate.

Yet within minutes, it wasn’t Folau’s politics that Twitter was talking about, it was his breath-taking performance. The man was on fire, be it setting up tries for his teammates or scoring 60-metre solo tries from his own half.

Guardian journalist Aaron Bower noted: “You have to tip your hat to him on the field: three monster plays from Israel Folau. The shift to create the space for Tom Davies was impressive, the solo try was even better and now that offload for Joel Tomkins to put Catalans three scores ahead. He’s been phenomenal”

Fellow rugby league journalist John Davidson wrote: “Folau just terrorising Shenton on that edge. Bump off of Eden too was prime. No ones ever doubted his on field ability.”

Martyn Sadler, editor of The Rugby League Express posted: “Watching Israel Folau, my main thought is what a tragedy it was that he spent so many years playing the other code. This is a brilliant performance by him.”

They weren’t alone either, with fans of both Catalan and opposing Castleford fans all hailing an out of this world performance.

It would be putting it mildly to suggest Folau will never be everyone’s cup of tea, but no one can argue with ability as a rugby player.

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