Moore on Rugby: RFU could learn from Rugby Australia on Folau issue


It has come as no surprise that Rugby Australia had terminated the contract of Israel Folau after the 30-year-old full back had said “hell awaits” gay people in a social media post.

Folau, was sacked in April but requested a hearing, which was heard by a three-person panel. The panel found him guilty of a high-level breach of Rugby Australia’s player code of conduct and upheld the dismissal.

Folau, has 72 hours to appeal against the ruling and at this moment in time is considering his options. An appeal would mean a second code of conduct hearing with the same evidence but a brand-new panel. The other course of action open to Folau could see him taking his case to Australia’s Supreme Court.

In light of this, I generally feel the RFU could learn a lot as to how quickly Rugby Australia came to their decision and the eventual correct outcome.

It has to be a no brainer that Rugby Australia have made the correct decision to sack Folau. Under no circumstances should anybody go on record and say what Folau said.

Yes, it his own personal opinion to come out with what he believes in by saying “hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers and others”.

He has also stated this is due to his religious beliefs, which I fully understand. But surely in today’s modern society and with social media allowing people to see others expressing their opinions and beliefs, everybody should take a step back before taking to the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to name but three.

The golden rule in anybody’s eyes nowadays is simple- Think before typing or opening one’s mouth, as you will almost certainly offend one or many people. 73-Test dual international Folau, who escaped punishment for similar comments last year, should have realised once his post was put on social media it would clearly offend a vast amount of people.

Why I personally praise Rugby Australia for the way this issue has been dealt with quickly, sensibly and in my eyes the correct way, I really feel that the English RFU could learn from this.

England’s Billy Vunipola was given a formal warning by the RFU after he defended Israel Folau’s social media post.

The Saracens number eight liked the post by Folau and called for people to “live their lives how God intended”. Vunipola was also warned by his club.

Again, if it is Vunipola’s beliefs to agree with Folau’s post then that is fine with me, but he should not agree on social media with this. He should keep such a point of view to himself and that way you won’t upset a lot of people. Rugby fans around the world will want to see the true Vunipola, doing his talking on the pitch.

Finally, I must express as well as Rugby Australia have handled this very awkward situation, the RFU and Saracens haven’t come out of this with flying colours.

I generally feel that Saracens have copied the RFU by just handing out a warning, when really a tougher punishment should have been put in place.


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