Cheika sends a message
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is confident superstar Israel Folau won’t walk away from rugby despite the divisive superstar understood to be on his last chance after a series of controversial online posts about homosexuality.
Cheika yesterday revealed he’d spoken to Folau about social media use and would also remind his entire Wallabies squad next month of their responsibilities after six weeks of turmoil for the code.
Despite continuing to preach his extreme religious beliefs on Twitter even since crisis talks with Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle last month, Cheika hopes fans have seen the last of Folau’s provocative posts.
“We need to be focusing on footy and getting ourselves clear on a big series coming up against the northern hemisphere champions (Ireland),” Cheika said.
“To do that, we’ve got to have everyone focused on footy.
“So this has been done. It’s been dealt with, so it’s not going to be an ongoing issue.”
Cheika’s revelation comes less than 24 hours after he said confused teenage fans needed to “detach” themselves from Folau’s potentially harmful posts and ditch the three-time John Eales medallist as a role model.
Folau is off contract at the
... Izzy wants to be part of the team, not just now, in the future as well. Michael Cheika
end of 2018 and Cheika is eager to retain the full-back, but seemingly not at the expense of disharmony and ongoing unrest among fans, sponsors and potentially the national team’s ranks.
“We’ve spoken, but I’m not going to be reading the riot act about that (online conduct) to anybody,” Cheika said.
“I’m going to be reminding guys what the team is about, what it means to be part of the team and then guys make their decisions from there.
“And Izzy wants to be part of the team, not just now, in the future as well.
“There’s a lot of people that think that he’s trying to use it as some tactic to get out of playing.
“If he wanted to go, he could go easily.
“He wants to play rugby, he understands that he doesn’t want to affect the team around those things because that’s my responsibility to the team.
“And I think, like I said, if it’s not ongoing, it’s not going to be an issue.”
Israel Folau continues to push his extreme religious beliefs on Twitter.