Former Australia rugby union player Israel Folau is set to play for the Tonga national rugby league team, following his sacking for a homophobic social media post.
The 30-year-old is the termination of his four-year Rugby Australia contract in May after he posted on social media that hell awaited ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers’ and other groups.
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However, Folau is set to return to rugby league, nine years after his switch to rugby union, to play for Tonga’s national team in fixtures against Great Britain and former side Australia in October and November.
The Tonga National Rugby League released a statement saying the former Melbourne and Brisbane outside back and his 24-year-old brother John have been registered to play for them.
In the statement, Folau said: “I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to represent God, my family, my heritage and the people of Tonga.
“I am thankful that the RLIF (Rugby League International Federation) have accepted my availability to play.”
Both brothers have been playing rugby union in recent seasons for the New South Wales Waratahs with Israel also representing the Wallabies 62 times, but has not played at all following his sacking.
Former Wigan, Widnes and New Zealand boss Frank Endacott is the Tonga head coach and he said he was thrilled at the prospect of coaching the Folau brothers.
Endacott said: “This is great news. These guys are great footballers and bring size, pace and skill to the team. They will make a huge impact in the team and provide exciting attack options all over the park.