Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has spoken of her sadness surrounding Israel Folau’s contract termination on Friday.
The chief executive, speaking in an exclusive 17-minute interview with RUGBY.com.au, said: “It really is (sad). For everyone. Both for Israel and the fact he won’t play rugby for the Wallabies again, for the fans that have had to live through a month of this speculation, for the teammates who have had to live with the fall-out and for the rest of the Rugby Australia employees, I think it has been a really difficult time.
“But at the end of the day, the values of Rugby Australia have to stand up and that’s for all employees, regardless of whether they’re players or whether they’re wider employee base.
“From our perspective, from Rugby Australia’s perspective, Israel breached those values when he put his views and expressed them in a way that is not respectful. Unfortunately we had no other choice but to take the path of action that we did.
“I’m a great believer in everyone needs a first chance. Don’t make the same mistake twice is probably the motto that I would use as a leader, and we had some very honest conversations with Israel around the time of his posting.
"I am of the view, Rugby Australia is of the view, that Israel was very clear on where the line was."@RugbyAU chief executive Raelene Castle sat down with @rugbycomau to talk through the entire Israel Folau saga.https://t.co/WeXSGnqZ9e
— RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) May 17, 2019
“He certainly lived through the media furore that happened over the first one. We had some very robust discussions around the grief that it caused Rugby Australia and some of our fanbase, and how offended they were. In my mind I was very clear that Israel knew that anything like this that was posted again was going to have a similar reaction.”
Castle insisted Folau was left in doubt as to what was right and wrong regarding his social media use. “I think specifically having used the words “hell” and “gay”, and the homosexual community, in the first post, we had specific conversations about the harm that it had caused the community. And the offence it has caused to that community.
Israel Folau shares first social media posts since controversy https://t.co/29EhjcOpCe
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 17, 2019
“To use those very same words again, to create that same issue with that same community is something I was very surprised about. Because it had been very clear from what I had said that we supported his strong religious view, in fact we were proud of his strong religious view, but that he needed to express those in a respectful way.
“And he had done so, since that post last year. He had been posting his very deep religious views in a really respectful and everyone was very comfortable with that. But unfortunately this last post was not that, and there were many people in our community who were offended by it.”
WATCH: Rugby Australia’s chief addresses the media following the announcement that Israel Folau’s contract was being terminated
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.