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'It's not a good look for those clubs because they are kind of endorsing his beliefs by saying come play with us'

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Racing 92 back Simon Zebo hasn’t taken kindly to speculation that he could be lining up against the divisive Israel Folau next season in the Top 14 after the current Catalan Dragons player was linked with joining Toulon. Sacked by the Australian rugby union in 201 for repeatedly posting what were perceived as homophobic religious memes to social media platforms, Folau resurrected his sports career when he moved to France to play for the rugby league Dragons.

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Having now made his home in France, there were reports this week that Folau, who last year declined an approach from Montpellier having impressed for Catalan in the Super League, had now piqued the interest of Toulon and well as Bayonne. However, the prospect of potentially playing against Folau in the 2021/22 Top 14 season is something that hasn’t gone down well with Zebo, the former Ireland international who moved to France from Munster in 2018.

“Not on the same team, definitely not,” he said when asked on RugbyPass Offload about the prospect of sharing a field next season with the fallen Australian star. “If he is playing opposite me there is nothing I can do. I wouldn’t let my team down by not playing.

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JP Doyle joins Simon Zebo and Ryan Wilson on the latest RugbyPass Offload

“I have no time for that [Folau’s beliefs], no time for any of his thoughts or things like that. It’s an unbelievably backward type of mentality. It’s such a shame. He’s such a talented guy, a really, really good player but I personally have a serious issue with that. There’s racism, there’s homophobia – these are things that I hold on the same level.

“I have three kids now and if all three of them decided to be gay when they grow up, me and him are going to have serious issues because having a father who plays rugby, they will know who Israel Folau is and they will see all these things – you know the way social media is in this day and age.

Folau Top 14

Simon Zebo in action at Test level versus Israel Folau (Photo by Sportsfile/Corbis/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

“What it could do to people, internally how it could brainwash them into these negative things, basically saying you are going to hell if you’re gay, I have no time for it and it does way more harm than any good that he sees he is trying to do. There are too many people out there that have issues with coming out.

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“There are people in our game, like Nigel Owens who would be way more of a global figure to our game than someone like Israel Folau. He is able to whatever he is able to do, he probably has mouths to feed, but for Toulon and these clubs to be linked to him, it’s not a good look for those clubs either because they are kind of endorsing his beliefs by saying, ‘Come play with us, share a changing room with these guys’.

“What if one of those guys is gay or has gay children? I just have no time for him whatsoever. I don’t know him personally but if you’re spreading that kind of hate on the internet the whole time, I’ve no time for you.”

 

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'It's not a good look for those clubs because they are kind of endorsing his beliefs by saying come play with us'

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