Israel Folau has committed to Rugby Australia for next year’s World Cup and beyond, according to reports by Fairfax Media.
The off-contract star has been in negotiations for a while, but both Rugby Australia and Waratahs decided to delay the announcement after the deal was finalised. Israel Folau was embroiled in a social media scandal during the negotiations after his anti-gay comments riled public opinion which may have lead to the decision to push back the announcement.
His new bumper four-year contract extends his stay in rugby until the end of 2022, a coup for both organisations. The Waratahs have managed to see off interest from the Queensland Reds, where Brad Thorn publicly expressed a desire to bring Folau north.
His big commitment comes after Rugby Australia gave a record-breaking five-year term to Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, securing both players for the long-term. With Bernard Foley announcing his one-year deal last week, the 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign looks to have all the necessary pieces.
There will still be work to do with a host of other players coming off-contract post-2019, including David Pocock and Kurtley Beale.
Folau is set to for a possible start in the midfield for his 70th test after utility centre Reece Hodge broke his ankle at training. Samu Kerevi has returned from injury and is with the squad, but is still building match fitness.
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