Israel Folau is expected to return to the hearing on Tuesday.
Israel Folau is expected to return to the hearing on Tuesday.

‘Beyond ridiculous’ Folau hearing gunned

ISRAEL Folau's code of conduct hearing resumes this morning, with the Wallabies superstar and the rest of the rugby fraternity unlikely to hear a result by the end of the day.

As the saga enters day four of the hearing and almost a full month since Folau's infamous Instagram post, Rugby Australia has come under fire for exacerbating the messy saga with its drawn out process.

The public calls for the game to end the painful saga is unlikely to get the ball moving when the hearing resumes on Tuesday.

The three-person panel will convene in a different venue after hearing over 15 hours of arguments at Rugby Australia (RA) headquarters last weekend.

RA doesn't expect a decision to be delivered on Tuesday and there's no certainty the hearing won't go into a fourth day on Wednesday.

Among the major rugby figures to appear before the hearing so far are RA chief executive officer Raelene Castle, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and NSW Rugby Union boss Andrew Hore. It is not known who the panel might hear from on Tuesday.

Whatever the outcome and whenever it's delivered, it's unlikely to be the end of perhaps the most scrutinised and debated code of conduct hearing in Australian rugby history.

Folau and RA will have until 72 hours after any decision is handed down to appeal.

It has almost been a month since Folau's posts on Twitter and Instagram triggered a firestorm of reaction.

 

Israel Folau has already rejected $1 million.
Israel Folau has already rejected $1 million.

RA's integrity unit deemed Folau had committed a high-level breach of the code of conduct warranting termination of his employment contract.

The Wallabies superstar back, who signed a new four-year deal back in February, opted to have the matter referred to a Code of Conduct hearing rather than accept termination.

While it has also generated some comment overseas it hasn't been a massive talking point in South Africa, where Folau's NSW Waratahs side is in the middle of a two-game Super Rugby stand.

"The short answer is no. I think there's a bit of a political thing going on at the moment over here so there's a fair bit of that stuff around but not really (Izzy)," Folau's Waratahs and Wallabies teammate Ned Hanigan said in a teleconference from South Africa.

Folau has missed the Waratahs' last three game since being stood down by the NSW Rugby Union.

The Tahs have lost their last two, but Hanigan was adamant the issue wasn't proving a distraction for them.

"Being away, as a team on tour, you're always galvanised together and you just focus on the job getting done,' Hanigan said.

 

Rugby Australia has a fight on its hands.
Rugby Australia has a fight on its hands.

"Speaking on the distraction back home a little bit, if we call it that, there's a code of conduct process that's still ongoing so there isn't much more to say. That process needs to be undertaken so I think as a team we know that.

"As a team we're sort of pretty focused on the job."

Folau reportedly rejected a $1 million offer to walk away from Australian rugby last week and is fighting to save the multi-million dollar, four-year contract he signed earlier this year.

Folau's solicitor Ramy Quatamiand barrister Adam Casselden have argued that Folau's Instagram post claiming hell awaits homosexuals and other sinners unless they repent and turn to Jesus was merely a bible passage and not his direct words.

They also put foot forward the fact that RA didn't include a specific social media clause when the John Eales Medallist signed a new contract in February.

But after being formally warned last year when he posted similar passages claiming gays were destined for hell, RA's legal unit believes the 30-year-old has breached both the player code of conduct and its social media policies.


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