Gib­son hopes out­spo­ken star stays in rugby

The Southland Times - - SPORT -

Waratahs coach Daryl Gib­son hopes Is­rael Fo­lau stays in rugby de­spite re­veal­ing he has threat­ened to leave the code in a con­tro­ver­sial col­umn that was pub­lished on Mon­day night.

Fo­lau dou­bled down on his In­sta­gram com­ment two weeks ago that God’s plan for gay peo­ple was ‘‘HELL’’, by writ­ing in a col­umn, pub­lished on Play­ers Voice, that it was in fact a sin to be a ho­mo­sex­ual.

He also said he was pre­pared to walk away from rugby if asked to by chief ex­ec­u­tive Rae­lene Cas­tle, who he crit­i­cised for mis­rep­re­sent­ing his com­ments af­ter their meet­ing last week.

Gib­son yes­ter­day de­scribed Fo­lau’s col­umn as ‘‘bal­anced’’ and said it gave a greater un­der­stand­ing of the player’s per­spec­tive.

When pressed on Fo­lau’s im­medi- ate and long-term fu­ture in rugby, Gib­son had few an­swers.

‘‘I can’t talk for Rugby Aus­tralia,’’ Gib­son said. ‘‘He cer­tainly made it clear on his po­si­tion.’’

Asked if he thought Fo­lau would turn his back on the 15-man code, Gib­son replied: ‘‘That’s not for me to de­cide. I know those dis­cus­sions are on­go­ing and the di­a­logue be­tween Rugby Aus­tralia and Is­rael is con­tin­u­ing and there hasn’t been a time­frame put on those dis­cus­sions. Those are ques­tions for Rugby Aus­tralia.

‘‘We want Is­rael to stay in rugby. That’s the first thing. He en­joys the game and so our im­me­di­ate con­cerns are mak­ing sure he stays in rugby and that he’s happy here.

‘‘What I think is ir­rel­e­vant. Is­rael made it re­ally clear that what he ex­pressed aren’t the views of Rugby Aus­tralia or the Waratahs.’’

Waratahs coach Daryl Gib­son.

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