Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says Israel Folau’s “disrespectful” comments would currently make it impossible to pick the superstar for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Folau remains stood down over his latest social media post proclaiming hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”.
Those remarks make it difficult for Cheika to envision the 30-year-old being part of the Wallabies’ plans for the tournament in Japan, starting in September.
“You wouldn’t be able to,” Cheika said when asked whether he’d be able to select Folau again under the circumstances.
Cheika conceded Folau had crossed a line which was marked when the religiously-motivated Folau made similar tweets a year ago.
“Getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team’s about,” Cheika said on Monday.
“When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia – everyone. Everyone that’s out there supporting us. We don’t pick and choose.
“We want everyone on that wagon with us to the World Cup … or a Bledisloe Cup. We want everyone there fighting with us and standing with us.”
Cheika didn’t think the issue would rear its head again after the controversy of last year’s tweets and Rugby Australia’s subsequent talks with Folau.
He had tried unsuccessfully to contact him for an explanation.
“We had a discussion at the end of the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that if that’s what he wants,” he said.
“I felt that I needed to talk to him about why, and I haven’t had that chance as yet. I’m sure I will in the future at some stage when it settles down for him a little bit.
“I made the calls and left the messages. There’s no beef.”
The NSW Waratahs have sidelined Folau while RA is likely to rip up his lucrative four-year deal over a breach of contract.
Folau has refused to back down from his social media attack and says he’s prepared to walk away from the game for the sake of his faith.
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