Teammate delivers blunt reality check for Folau
ISREAL Folau says he has teammates who will support him in his $14 million fight against Rugby Australia, but one former colleague has given him a reality check.
David Pocock has called out Folau previously for his anti-gay comments and also believes the ex-fullback is off the mark by suggesting he was in line to captain the Wallabies.
Earlier this week, Folau increased his compensation demands from $10 million to $14 million as he continued his legal fight against RA.
He accuses RU of wrongful termination for sacking him after his comments on Instagram that "hell awaits" gay people.
In an updated statement of claim lodged with the Federal Circuit Court this week, Folau is partly justifying his demand for more money by saying he will miss out on extra earnings that come with being skipper of the national side.
But Pocock says he doesn't know why Folau thinks he would oust captain Michael Hooper.
"I think Michael Hooper has been doing a great job and he's contracted to the next World Cup, so I'm not sure where Izzy's getting that from," Pocock said on Fox Sports News on Friday.
Hooper, 28, is two years younger than Folau, making it more implausible the former rugby league and AFL star would be thrust into the top job.
Pocock's comments came after former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons labelled Folau's captaincy claim "absurd", particularly given he was never even named as vice-captain.
"It just gets ever more absurd," FitzSimons told TVNZ. "From a distance, I just thought, 'What? Captain?' … but Michael Cheika, who was the Wallabies coach of course, he moved through seven vice-captains.
"Now, if Michael Cheika had seven vice-captains and Israel Folau wasn't one of them, I think by definition he was a very unlikely man to be captain.
"The last time Australian rugby had a fullback as captain was in 1980. It was Paul McLean, it was one Test, and after that the theory in Australian rugby was that fullback was too far from the main game to be the captain, so the tradition in Australian rugby is we don't have a fullback as a captain.
"I find the claim absolutely absurd."
Pocock also criticised Folau for using his profile to drag rugby through the mud and discriminate against gay people.
"My view has been that sport is at its best when it's challenging society to be more inclusive," Pocock said.
"I think we can play such an important role in trying to instil values of fairness and inclusivity into kids coming through.
"I found it incredibly disappointing the way he's used his platform around this."
The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that two former Wallabies who have signed affidavits supporting Folau's legal case are no longer employed by Rugby Australia. It's believed their statements will claim Folau's reintroduction to the national team after his anti-gay comments would not have had a negative impact on team unity.
Folau is saying his contract termination will cost him $4.2 million from 2019-2022, as well as $300,000 in match payments from 2019-2021 and an additional $150,000 in match payments in 2022.
He also claims he stood to make up to $1.5 million a season for one or two years with Rugby Australia and a Super Rugby club after 2022.
Folau suggests he would have earned up to $1.5 million a year for two to three years had he chosen to play overseas after his international career ended.
Estimates provided over lost sponsorship dollars and the missed revenue that comes with competing at World Cups and possibly captaining the national team were also used to justify the controversial star's new $14 million demand.
The claim includes estimates of between $450,000 and $1.25 million a year lost in "post-playing career monetary benefits" over a span of 15 to 25 years.