Israel Folau's rugby career in tatters after Rugby Australia sacking

Australian rugby union player Israel Folau leaves a Code of Conduct hearing in Sydney, Sunday, May 5, 2019. Credit: AP

Israel Folau's rugby career appears to be over after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic social media posts.

The 30-year-old had previously been found to have [committed a "high\-level breach" of Rugby Australia's code of conduct](http://Israel Folau found guilty of ) earlier this month.

Devout Christian Folau said on his Instagram page that "hell awaits" for "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators".

While his playing career remains up in the air, the termination of his $4m AUS contract will likely not see him play for his country or New South Wales Waratahs again - meaning the Wallabies will go into this year's World Cup without one of their best players.

Folau, Super Rugby's all-time leading try-scorer, thanked those who defended his words and said he believed he had a right to express his views because it was "God's word".

He said: “As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle announces that Rugby Australia has terminated star fullback Israel Folau's contract in Sydney. Credit: AP

"The Christian faith has always been a part of my life an I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word.

“Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country.”

Folau had previously been warned for making homophobic posts in 2018, but had escaped disciplinary action.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle told a press conference: "We are here to announce that Wallabies and Waratahs player Israel Folau has today been issued a sanction directing termination of his playing contract for his high-level breach of the professional players' code of conduct."

She added: "Rugby Australia did not choose to be in the situation, but Rugby Australia's position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue the course of action resulting in today's outcome.

"This has been an extremely challenging period for rugby. This issue has created an unwanted distraction in an important year for the sport and for the Wallabies team.

"But our clear message for all rugby fans today is that we need to stand by our values and the qualities of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork."

Australia are likely to go into the World Cup without one of their most potent attacking players. Credit: AP

Folau has 72 hours to appeal the decision and is said to be "considering his options".

He may choose to continue his career abroad, although it remains to be seen whether foreign clubs will be willing to sign him following his controversial remarks.